We were awarded the Silverdale Road Apartments project at the University of Waikato’s Hamilton campus on a design & build basis. The University’s brief was clear – they had a limited budget and wanted easily-maintained, self-contained accommodation with excellent acoustic performance, but also to retain some outdoor space on the compact site.
The design we devised with ARTO Architects was for three two-storey blocks of studio apartments, each with a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom/study space. The 53 units, intended as accommodation for post-graduate students and visiting lecturers, all have access to a shared common room and laundry facilities.
Each block was designed to be virtually identical, allowing for an efficient construction sequence and simplified ongoing facilities management. We built the apartments with low-maintenance materials, using a combination of precast panels, concrete midfloor, timber framing and a mixture of fibre cement and metal cladding. They are fully integrated into the campus-wide communications and security infrastructure.
The programme was threatened early in the build with challenging ground conditions and consent delays. Our team used considerable ingenuity to make up the time, managing the switch to piled foundations, carefully arranging the build sequence to allow for efficient use of cranes while installing the precast panels, and mocking up an apartment early in the build to expedite procurement for the fitouts. We completed the project right on time for the 2020 academic year.
Client: University of Waikato
Completed: February 2020