Rakaia Centre Student Hub Development

Rakaia Centre Student Hub

Ara and Athfield Architects have started planning for the new Student Hub, which is due for completion in 2019.

The Rakaia Centre (ALX Block) at the City Campus Christchurch will be transformed into a Student Hub catering to local and international students at Ara. It’s a place where all students can meet, learn, study, collaborate, access services and relax with friends.

The brief calls for a hub that reflects the cultural diversity of Ara and is welcoming for all of our students. It will be accessible and sustainable, forming the heart of the campus and linking to the new North Green (under construction), the Te Kei administration hub (under construction) and Te Puna Wanaka cultural centre.

Athfields Architects designed the current building, which was completed in 1996. They are enthusiastic about the opportunity to update and repurpose the Rakaia building into a Student Hub.

Key features

  • Easy access to student support and services:
    • admissions and enrolments
    • learning services
    • information commons/library
    • student support
    • student finance
    • ICT help desk

Facilities / functionality under consideration

  • Commercial facilities such as ATM and Bennett’s Bookstore
    • Prayer rooms
    • Baby Change/Breastfeeding Room
    • Showers
    • A café with orientation to the North Green
  • Innovative learning and social spaces.


Our partners are committed to helping Ara achieve the vision of our sustainability charter.

Repurposing the Rakaia Centre as a student hub is an efficient use of resource, however the design and construction process will go further. The project will strive to reduce environmental impacts, maximise social gain and incorporate economic sustainability now and into the future.

Athfields Architects will investigate options for visible innovative sustainable building practices to be employed into this building to ensure they are celebrated and recognised by the students, staff and community.


Corporate Services, including Finance and People and Development, and International Services, currently located in the Rakaia Centre, will move to Te Kei. Te Kei is currently under construction and due for completion in May 2017. Other services will be moved to C Block (formerly the Engineering and Architectural Studies building) while the redevelopment takes place – we will keep you informed.