The Ernest Rutherford Building brings a new heart and culturally defined identity to the centre of the University of Canterbury. The building is a showcase development for the University, and at five storeys and 20,000sqm, it’s the largest of the University’s rebuilds following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
One of the only buildings in Australasia to combine so many science disciplines under one roof, the Ernest Rutherford building’s design reflects the innovative approach to science teaching and research being led by the University of Canterbury where teaching and research pathways are demonstrated in the side-by-side arrangement of teaching, masters, and PhD research activities.
The University’s aspiration was for the building design to reflect modern pedagogy by including generous social collaborative spaces acknowledging learning and research continues beyond timetabled labs and now crosses the traditional confines of disciplinary boundaries. Laboratory work is visible throughout the building ensuring research activity is on display to building users and visitors. The multi-disciplinary teaching laboratories are described as next generation learning spaces - flexible, future proofed, and accessible.
The distinct cultural narrative of the building of the building was developed in consultation with local Iwi Ngāi Tahu and is embedded in all aspects of the design including public spaces, exterior finishes and landscaping.
Jasmax led the design team in conjunction with DJRD and Royal Architects. Stage 1 opened to students in 2018 with Stage 2 due for completion in 2019.