The six-level William James (Psychology 3) building at the University of Otago was designed to give the Psychology Department a people-friendly front door on the Dunedin campus, with particular attention paid to having views from the windows allowing visitors to orientate themselves easily. It consists mainly of staff offices, but the layout is flexible enough to allow for different future uses.

Built to meet the requirements of the New Zealand Green Building Council 5-Green Star standard, its environmentally sustainable features include cycle storage facilities, rainwater harvesting for non-potable uses such as toilets, the use of sustainably produced materials wherever possible, natural lighting and ventilation and adjustable exterior window-shades, low energy lighting and use of carbon-neutral wood pellet-fuelled boilers for heating. It is estimated to use only a quarter of the energy and water of a standard new building.

There is an innovative green roof, believed to be the largest in the South Island at the time. The green roof improves air quality, biodiversity, storm water management and the thermal performance of the building – as well as being a handy research area for the Botany Department. Close attention was also paid to minimising construction waste over the course of the project.

The new building abuts onto and connects with an older Psychology building, constructed by Naylor Love some twenty years earlier. The Psychology building is one of many projects completed at the University of Otago over the years, including University Plaza Building One and the Microbiology Building.

Client: University of Otago
Completed: February 2010
Awards: ​NZ Commercial Project Awards 2011 – Gold Award in the Education Category


Commercial, Dunedin, Education, Environmental