University of Auckland Student Accommodation Hero

University of Auckland Student Accommodation

The University of Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and highest ranked university as set out in the QS World University Rankings. It is made up of eight faculties over six campuses, and has more than 40,000 students.

In 2011 the University embarked on a $1 billion decade-long property refurbishment, expansion and upgrade project. One component of this was to build the university's first dedicated student accommodation since the 12-level O'Rorke Hall in 1989 - a 468-room University Hall on Whitaker Place.

The University of Auckland’s aim:

  • Provide a much needed boost to fully catered accommodation near campus for students.

What we did:

We built this 16-level twin tower building comprising 468-rooms (442 of which are bedrooms) on the Western slopes of Grafton Gully.

429 rooms are 11sqm in size and there are an additional 13 rooms which are larger and have en-suite bathrooms. Each floor of the building has a central common room, a study room, kitchenette and shared bathrooms.

The building also incorporates a basement, a two-level podium and glazed and solid facades and is built using wood-framed modules that sit within a steel and concrete framework. The building sets a trend for structures utilising a mix of timber, concrete and steel, both in New Zealand and overseas. Extensive outdoor recreation facilities are planned for decks on two levels with an outdoor recreation court nearby.

This is the largest facility on the University of Auckland campus as well as the largest structure of its type in the country. It significantly boosts the University’s fully-catered accommodation capacity.

The 468 prefabricated timber room pods were built offsite, by Stanley Group in Matamata, and then assembled within the main structure. The benefits of doing so were to minimise onsite construction and ensure high levels of quality control. The units were transported to Auckland by truck and arrived completely fitted out with windows, doors, carpets, wooden furniture and prepared for electricity and computer links.

This building (while not totally made of timber) uses more wood than any other tower block of its size. Its modular construction reduced the on-site build time considerably.

Unique challenges:

There are three storeys of 1-bedroom units within each concrete structural zone of the building. These were stacked into place by crane and were then connected to corridors, bathrooms and lift access.

The outcome:

We achieved practical completion in time for the 2012 academic year. The University of Auckland now has substantially more state-of-the-art, fully-catered accommodation and a building that sets the trend for structures using a mixture of timber, concrete and steel.