• click-raft roof entry terrace
  • concept sketch
  • north east view
  • concept sketch
  • south east view

1702 Callaghan Cafe

  • cafe interior
  • model study
A minimal yet elegant light box bi-sected by an open and welcoming entrance and breakout terrace for public events and functions.

Client: Callaghan Innovation

Location: Gracefield, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Site: Callaghan Innovation Quarter

Design: 2018

Program: 400m2 cafe, meeting rooms, event facilities and break out terraces

Cost: $NZ 1.8m


Callaghan Innovation, PTL engineers, eCubed Building Workshop, Makers

Callaghan Innovation required a new cafe with meeting and event facilities to be designed and built within six months. The ambition for the new building is intended to demonstrate and showcase innovation and to act as a first stage catalyst in the transformation of the Gracefield campus into a new dynamic Innovation Quarter.

The idea for the new building was concieved as a minimal yet elegant light box bi-sected by an open and welcoming entrance and breakout terrace for a variety of public events and functions.

How could we utilise this opportunity to innovate a new generation of strong safe lean architecture to combine lightweight structures with sustainable materials and 3D BIM digital direct to manufacture prefabrication?

To achieve this the construction system was developed using 10m x 3m modular elements to enable rapid design, documentation, digital prefabrication and assembly. The structure is fabricated using engineered timber in floor, wall and roof elements including floor cassettes, posts, frames, trusses and a lattice click-raft roof over the breakout terrace. Cladding is a combination of lightweight polycarbonate skins to form the exterior walls, plywood cassettes and structurally insulated metal roof panels.

Architecture, engineering and construction have been designed as one to integrate skin, structure and services in a highly performative minimal yet flexible envelope. The design of the building celebrates how it was made revealing not only the raw structure of LVL but also its metal fixings, mechanical equipment and services which provide the detail and decoration of the spaces.

The spatial weave of the building houses a variety of activities from exhibitions, meetings, flex work space, public events, functions, and educational activities in an efficient flexible way to enable easy access and continuous flow between rooms and inside to outside, enabling adjacent spaces to be used simultaneously.