Client: Callaghan Innovation
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Site: Gracefield Road, Lower Hutt, Wellington
Program: Office studios 2,500m2, Atriums 1000m2, Support facilities 2,500m2
Cost: NZ $ 21 million
Chris Moller, Clayton Sime
We were asked to design an “Innovation Hub” at the centre of the diverse operational dimensions of the Gracefield Innovation Quarter. It needed to operate as a catalyst for innovation with spaces for discovery, education, exhibitions and events focused on science, high-value engineering and manufacturing. A venue to celebrate the potentials of new innovation initiatives, to connect, support and nurture innovation start-ups and the commercialisation of organisations within the innovation eco-system. A place where great ideas could be turned into commercially viable products, services, and experiences.
We imagined the project as a sequence of spaces like a cascading series of river terraces where ideas can be explored (discovered), exploded (worked out), and exploited (prototyped, tested and developed). Three separate yet inter-connected pavilions step down the slope in a series of terraces in shifting atmospheres to house each critical stage of the innovation cycle or “flow”. • explore pavilion; provide venues for discovery, exploration and education (event theatre, display and exhibition facilities, restaurant/cafe) • explode pavilion; enable startups and incubator companies to develop their innovations in ‘explosive’ spirit (resource library, audio visual/ meeting facilities, lounge cafe) • exploit pavilion; utilise the science, engineering and business expertise of Callaghan to ‘exploit’ innovation potentials (incubator lounges, bar and prototype workshops provide testing and development facilities). North-South in cross-section the building connects incubator studios (south) to support facilities (north) via large open atria spaces to catalyse synergy between people of different ages, fields, cultures and backgrounds.
A multitude of cross-links throughout the Hub encourage interaction between collegues moving between facilities. Each pavilion is covered with its own Solar Sail canopy, concieved as a kaliedoscopic filter or ‘sky connector’. Each canopy is clad in photovoltaic array’s to provide energy, admit carefully filtered sunlight and provide shelter from extreme solar radiation and winter weather.