Cutting edge design wins NMIT $1 million


Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology‘s (NMIT) planned new Arts and Media Block has won accolades and up to a million dollars in support funding for being a landmark building.


The building, which will incorporate revolutionary wooden construction, has been awarded the additional funding towards design and construction costs by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, after meeting all the criteria for sustainable wooden building design.


Nelson architects Irving Smith Jack have also won a national competition run by NMIT in conjunction with MAF for the design of the commercial building using wood as the key structural component instead of concrete and steel.


MAF’s Wood Building Demonstration Project has been set up to encourage the use of wood for multi-storey commercial buildings.


It awards part-funding towards design and construction to government or government-funded organisations where a commissioned building design meets the criteria of being a commercial building, is constructed with wood, is multi-storey, is innovative in its design and has features that could be easily translated into other buildings.


MAF wants to support increased use of wood for commercial building because it’s sustainable, renewable, available locally and takes less energy to manufacture than many other building materials.


The NMIT Arts and Media building design meets all those criteria. The building, while meeting the needs for specialist and general learning space, will also be used as a demonstration model to promote the use of wood in commercial construction.


The engineering features of the building design are leading edge and, coupled with the potential to use locally produced materials and a design that shows off all the internal structural components, are unique in wooden building design.


Structural engineer Carl Devereux of Connell Wagner says the design is based on the latest research from the University of Canterbury and, when complete, will be a world first in timber design.


The earthquake design combines laminated timber shear walls with a unique energy-dissipating system.


Architect Andrew Irving, of Irving Smith Jack Architects, says their team was thrilled to win such a prestigious national award against strong competition.


“Coming up with this innovative concept using locally produced timber components has been very exciting,” Mr Irving says.


“Hopefully it will be the first of a new generation of creative, sustainable, wooden structured, multi-storied buildings.”