Apr 2021 NZ Timber - The Fence is Coming Down

 
Apr 2021 NZ Timber - The Fence is Coming Down
 April 2021    Story: Hayley Leibowitz

THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP. We are effectively taking down the fence that’s been around Scion for quite some time,” says Scion CEO, Dr Julian Elder, of the Crown Research Institute’s new building named Te Whare Nui o Tuteata. “It was a real eye opener to me to come to Scion and learn all of the wonderful things that happen here. Now we are no longer an ‘invisible, secret, science establishment behind the trees’. The fence is coming down.” In collaboration with Irving Smith Architects, RTA Studio was commissioned to reimagine Scion’s Rotorua headquarters.

The project allows the workforce from around the campus to collaborate in a central space which will be the new public face of Scion in the community.

The design showcases timber use in commercial construction, with emphasis on the innovation and research reflecting the essence of Scion as an organisation. Julian explains that the timing of the creation of the new building is crucial,

THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP.

We are effectively taking down the fence that’s been around Scion for quite some time,” says Scion CEO, Dr Julian Elder, of the Crown Research Institute’s new building named Te Whare Nui o Tuteata.

“It was a real eye opener to me to come to Scion and learn all of the wonderful things that happen here. Now we are no longer an ‘invisible, secret, science establishment behind the trees’. The fence is coming down.”

In collaboration with Irving Smith Architects, RTA Studio was commissioned to reimagine Scion’s Rotorua headquarters. The project allows the workforce from around the campus to collaborate in a central space which will be the new public face of Scion in the community. The design showcases timber use in commercial construction, with emphasis on the innovation and research reflecting the essence of Scion as an organisation.

Julian explains that the timing of the creation of the new building is crucial, Ngā Hapū e Toru who hold mana over the whenua. “Our perspective is that the circular bioeconomy is the way the world is moving and that’s a huge opportunity for New Zealand. It fits our wheelhouse which is why showing our work is so important. This will feed back into all of the mechanisms that start to create the demand for this new future,” says Julian.

“Also exciting for us is that the innovation is centred in the regions. All of these activities will be close to trees. So it’s a really exciting opportunity for economic development of our regions and creation of new higher value jobs in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. We would like to get to the stage where everyone thinks of products that are made in NZ are good for the planet and good for you. So that’s what we’re trying to do with this building,” he explains.

He points out that showcasing the science and technology and thinking about those opportunities is about bringing people along on the journey “so that they go ‘wow,...

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