Otago Polytechnic
Recycling centre KvB 20200610 121105

Encouraging recycling

Four Otago Polytechnic Bachelor of Architectural Studies students have received Dunedin City Council Emerging Architecture Awards.

As part of their coursework, Freyja Munro, Leon Frommann, Georgia Wilkinson and Chunhui (Lance) Wang responded to a DCC brief to design two recycling hubs for Dunedin’s tertiary quarter. Dunedin’s student area has a higher density of residency, which means students have more recycling than fits into their recycling bins. 

To support the existing recycling collection service, the DCC planned to trial two new recycling hubs in the area, one next to the University of Otago’s Marsh Study Centre on Castle St, the other on the corner of St David St and Forth St, near Otago Polytechnic. The initiative follows the successful trial of two recycling hubs in the central business district, one on Moray Pl at the bottom of View St, and the other under the Jetty St bridge on Vogel St.

The final designs were chosen by a panel comprising Otago Polytechnic, local architecture firm .everyday and DCC staff (from Ara Toi and Waste and Environmental Solutions) and the contractor, Ahika Consulting. Design criteria included the hubs: 

  • being complementary to the area
  • being user-friendly
  • being imaginative and attractive
  • being easily accessible
  • stimulating positive waste minimisation and recycling messaging
  • incorporating a community noticeboard for educational information.

Leigh McKenzie, DCC Waste Minimisation Officer says it was great to see the students’ fresh ideas.

“The concept was for students to design something for the tertiary area as part of their architecture studies. The students thought outside the box when approaching the brief and came up with some innovative ideas which were used as the basis for the final design.”

Director of .everyday and Otago Polytechnic Lecturer in Architectural Studies, Campbell McNeill says the projects also enabled the students to explore beyond obvious notions of sustainability.

“For example, we dove into the concept of ‘regenerative development’, a process which helped guide the students to understand layers of social, ecological and economic contexts of the two sites and the wider city. A selection of the students’ ideas are proving happily persistent through the design and build process. The process shows that understanding a project’s unique socio-ecological context can produce architecture that goes beyond a static design object and positively effect a greater ecosystem.”

For their winning concept designs, each of the students received $500 towards their course fees.

July 2020

Image credit: Kathryn van Beek, used with permission.