Today marks the official opening of the Manukau Institute of Technology’s (MIT) new ‘smart’ campus. The revolutionary $100 million campus was opened by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce, and Auckland Mayor, Len Brown.
The cloud-based, flipped-learning campus can accommodate up to 5000 students and is able to connect 20, 000 wireless devices at any one time. The innovative campus includes a 250 seat Digital Theatre featuring 3D geometric timber acoustic panelling, designed by theatre specialist John McKay. Further features include large public areas and cafe spaces.
The campus will house the Faculty of Business and IT, and School of Logistics from the 21st July, the beginning of Semester Two. These faculties are MIT’s fastest growing areas of study, and also represent the areas of skills that are most needed by the New Zealand workforce.
The seven floor campus is built over the transport interchange that is used by half a million commuters annually. This decision was made by MIT, Auckland Transport and the Auckland Council, and provided a significant engineering and design challenge for Warren and Mahoney, the architects.
As a result, the 14, 000m2 construction is suspended over the railway station, ensuring the campus is not impacted by the movement or noise of the train.
Earlier this week the campus was blessed in a ceremony attended by around 120 people, including those from MIT, Hawkins Construction, Architects Warren and Mahoney, local Iwi and Kāhui Ariki Ngaire Lasika (Muru) represented the Māori King, Tuheitia Paki.
MIT Kūkupa Tirikatene invited Mana Whenua to bless the Campus by quoting The Tapestry of Understanding.
The name of the campus is ‘Te Waonui O Te Mātauranga’, which means “The Forest of Learning’. The Maori poutama or ‘staircase of knowledge’ has also been integrated into the building design.
Taken into consideration when choosing the Maori name were the central location of the campus in the heart of Manukau and the wide range of courses to be taught there, from free community computer lessons through to post-graduate degrees.
The design concept for the construction originate from the campus kaupapa or themes.
“We put together the three important strands; people, environment and knowledge,” Peter Boyd, MIT Senior Lecturer says, who led the art project with artist Matt van Sturmer.
“The carved steel and glass lintel above the main entry is based on the creation of knowledge and the graphic application in the wind lobby below, Haumihiata, ‘Fragrance of the Dawn or Dawn Chorus – welcomes you into a learning environment’.
“The ground floor represents Tangata Whenua. The dark colours symbolise earth and as you go up the levels there’s a change to the greens and blues of water and air until it turns to magenta at the top which signifies the spiritual realm. Moving up through the levels also moves one through all the communities who will use ‘Te Waonui o Te Mātauranga’ and the knowledge systems they bring with them.”
An Open Day for the public will be held on Saturday 28th June. For those wanting to attend the Open Day festivities by train, Auckland Transport will be providing free tickets.