Owen G. Glenn Business School

Aspiration and Landscape: Collaboration and learning wrapped in organic layers of glass and stainless steel

Our inspiration for this project was drawn directly from the fusion of natural landscape, urban form and the history of cultural exchange and flow that characterise this beautiful site at the edge of the campus, overlooking Auckland Harbour and the Domain.

Prior to modern development, this landscaped valley used to be known for the Waipapa stream that flowed directly into the harbour, and it was near this stream that early European settlers traded with the Ngāti Whātua tribes.

An equal inspiration was the university’s ambition to create a new centre for learning and innovation; a welcoming place of knowledge exchange and collaboration for future leaders.

Architectural forms open through a series of organic flowing ribbons in a gesture of invitation, outreach and optimism, gathering the energy of the site into a major new public square. These layered glass and stainless steel planes are carefully composed to orientate and join the forms and internal volumes of the new building to significant landscape elements. The central atrium and internal gathering space is directed out between the two largest ribbons to connect with the natural landscape of the Domain, while the northern figural “head” is turned to look directly towards the harbour and Rangitoto Island while terminating the axial vista of Wynyard Street.

These organic and flowing forms are suspended above a solid podium that anchors the building and reinterprets the natural topography of the sloping site. The counterbalancing podium form is joined spatially with the suspended ribbons at the atrium heart of the new complex, interconnecting the shared teaching spaces with the business school’s workplace, learning and social spaces.

At the centre of the complex are two interconnected spaces that create a sense of collegial and scholarly community. The first is a welcoming forecourt, or open square, that is defined by the gentle curve of the embracing forms. The second is the central atrium that vertically connects all levels of the complex and is the collegial focus. The social hub bridges suspended within this atrium become platforms for informal gathering and exchange; they are busy points of interaction and look out to the beautiful natural landscape of the Domain.

The exfoliated stratagem takes on the existing topography at a truly panoramic scale setting itself as a gigantic scenography comprised of transparent glass perforated metal and/or reflective screens, layered so as to conform to geometric hyperbolic trajectories in plan. The express purpose of this layered configuration is to extend and project the visual command of the structure at a geographic scale… beyond the immediate confines of a pre‑existing Oxbridge campus, to touch the spread-eagled landmark features of the Domain in the first instance and Auckland Harbour in the second.

— Kenneth Frampton

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UABS-concept-sketch

Owen G. Glenn Business School designed by fjmt

Owen G. Glenn Business School designed by fjmt

Owen G. Glenn Business School designed by fjmt

UABS

Facade

Business School Auckland Uni

Owen G. Glenn Business School designed by fjmt

Owen G. Glenn Business School designed by fjmt

Business School Auckland Uni