3 December 2014
Students win national design award for 10sqm building
The design brief was simple – create a breakout space that didn’t require consent and incorporated sustainability, and
now four Otago Polytechnic Design students have won the national Sustainable Habitat Construction (SHAC) Pop-up
Challenge for their design of an innovative and efficient ten square metre building.
Studio56 was conceived by third-year Design students, Dean Griffiths, Alice Perry, Nina Daniels and Charlotte McKirdy, and was
developed to provide a unique learning and collaboration environment for both students and staff, within Otago
Polytechnic’s Living Campus – a vibrant community garden and a sustainable model of urban agriculture.
The students were encouraged by their Design Lecturer, Chris Fersterer, who was recently nominated for an Otago
Polytechnic Sustainability Teaching Award, to enter the SHAC Pop-up Challenge. The competition specifications included
designing a creative space with a small budget, using recyclable materials.
“It’s wonderful to have others recognise the value in our design and a very rewarding experience for us as a team,” says
Interior Design student Alice Perry. “It’s been a nice way to end our time here at Otago Polytechnic.”
The building comes with all the specifications you would expect from a regular new build, including insulation, thick
walls for heating and electricity. However, it’s the sustainable elements of the build that makes it such an efficient
and unique space.
“The building resonates an ethos of education, innovation and sustainability,” says Product Design student Dean
Griffiths. “We used recycled macrocarpa for the exterior and we have heat transfer panelling on the windows, so when the
steel plate heats up, it draws it inside via a fan and heats the interior. We also have a water channel running from the
roof which drains into a catchment system that feeds the living campus garden.”
The project has been a collaborative effort between schools and services across Otago Polytechnic. In-house commercial
design and development centre, workSpace, helped design some of the sustainable elements of the build, while the
Carpentry students from the School of Architecture, Building and Engineering are currently in the process of building
Once complete, the building will sit among Otago Polytechnic’s Living Campus. “We wanted to create a space students
would be attracted to. Studio56 creates an opportunity for students to get out of the classroom and sit in a social and relaxing space that still
allows them to use their laptops,” says Mr Griffiths.
Going forward, the design team hope to turn Studio56 into a kitset that can be customised. “Being less than ten square metres, you don’t need consent, so it’s a building
that can go up in any space,” says Ms Perry.
is a network of designers, builders, engineers, and architects who are addressing the need for a more sustainable built
environment. They host competitions and workshops and work on innovative small-scale building projects for clients and
Studio56 will be officially unveiled in early 2015.