Otago Polytechnic
Distiller Image02

Building the future

How might an existing building better serve the needs of the startup community?

To support early stage business startups, the Startup Dunedin trust operates a co-working space 20 Leithbank in North Dunedin, called The Distiller. The Distiller has a number of desks and offices available for startups which are in, or transitioning into Startup Dunedin's programmes. This provides a community for budding entrepreneurs, offering support and guidance, and helping build confidence, skills and networks. 

These premises are in need of a refit, and the 2019 second year Bachelor of Architectural Studies students were invited to prepare and submit plans for redevelopment of The Distiller. After a briefing from Startup Dunedin and a site visit, the students had eight weeks to develop their ideas. Each student brought their own ethos and imagination to bear. For example: 

  • "humans adapt and survive; buildings should do the same:" Maui Tompset
  • "startups are outside the box so the design should reflect that:" Libby Shaw

The students presented their very different plans to representatives of Startup Dunedin. The plans will inform Startup Dunedin's thinking about redevelopment of The Distiller to support another generation of new businesses in Dunedin.

Rachel Butler, Audacious Student Programme Manager says:

We were utterly blown away by the students' attention to our needs as a client, the creativity and detail they provided, and the strong sense of identity each presentation had. We have since made significant changes to our space based on and inspired by the day of student presentations. We would not hesitate to recommend every presenting student to another Dunedin business.

image credit: Maui Tompset, used with permission

August 2019