Kāinga Ora partnered with UCOL | Te Pūkenga students to design vibrant community spaces for the Brentwood and wider community to come together and connect.

“Community spaces are important to support social cohesion and wellbeing outcomes for Kāinga Ora customers and communities,” explains Rebecca Kinloch, Senior Stakeholder Relationship Manager at Kāinga Ora. “We are not only building homes, but we want to support sustainable, thriving and inclusive communities too.”

New Zealand Diploma in Architectural Technology second-year students visited the Brentwood Avenue site in September to look at potential community spaces. They returned to the drawing board to work on designs and presented their ideas to Kāinga Ora a few weeks later.

“The concepts were very detailed and comprehensive,” says Rebecca Kinloch. “The students had listened carefully and undertaken a lot of research to develop their designs. They were all well-presented too.”

Real-life project

Senior Lecturer at UCOL | Te Pūkenga Marshell Putu says the project is an excellent opportunity for students to be involved in a real-life project.

“Being part of client meetings that involve client expectations and deadlines gives them an experience they cannot get in a classroom environment. This will better prepare them for workplace expectations moving forward,” says Marshell.

One of the students, Michael Mckay from Palmerston North, designed a safe, weatherproof outdoor space for families to relax, share kai and supervise children at play.

“Having grown up in a rural setting, I want to encourage others to get outside as it benefits physical and mental health,” says Michael.

Talking to an actual client gave him a sneak peek into how things may work in the industry.

“I find it easier to learn by doing than by being told what to expect, so this experience was great. A big thank you to Kāinga Ora for this opportunity, I hope future students will get a similar chance,” ends Michael.

Fellow student Stephen Johnson agrees with Michael that the project has been a great learning experience.

“This project was a chance to flex my creative mind muscles and impact my local community. Having an opportunity to affect a real-life environment brought a real emphasis into the planning and learning stages, rather than a made-up idea that would never have the chance to be seen and or used,” adds Stephen.

Kāinga Ora will continue to discuss the proposals and likely use design aspects from different concepts to create the community spaces at Brentwood Avenue.

“We know our customers who will be moving back into the apartments will appreciate all the work the students have put into this piece of work for them to be able to enjoy a community and inclusive feeling at the apartments,” ends Rebecca Kinloch.

From left to right Stephen Johnson (UCOL Student), Michael Mckay (UCOL Student), Jordan Sabine (UCOL Student), Rebecca Kinloch (Kāinga Ora), Kylie Look (Kāinga Ora) and Vivi Fan (UCOL Student)

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Page updated: 17 January 2024