The College of Creative Arts and Athfields Architects wanted an environmental graphic design intervention for an entrance panel in Te Ara Hihiko, Massey University’s new creative arts building. The proposed location suggested was a section of prefabricated concrete on level C that comprises the entrance lobby.
Both the content and form needed to be established, relevant to students, lecturers and all other university guests. Attracting the attention of a first time visitor and remaining engaging for building users over a longer period of time.
In searching for an appropriate theme or content the recently developed CoCA Graduate Attributes seemed an appropriate choice. Five words in english and te reo Maori were cast into the concrete slab: Creativity — Toi, Virtuosity — Mohio, Understanding — Matauranga, Autonomy — Mana, Connectedness — Whanaungatanga.
The five words have been set in ThreeSix, an experimental optical/geometric type system designed by MuirMcNeil. This typeface explores the possibilities of systematic principles in generating geometric typeforms which are distinctive at large point sizes but which can also be read at smaller sizes in bodies of extended text and have subsequently proven to be particularly appropriate for casting in concrete.
Following a series of tests ThreeSix 31 Bold was chosen as the most appropriate font from the typeface for concrete casting. The words are set in five depths and correspond in alignment and depth with the translations. The two languages are bisected by the entrance door glass creating a playful relationship between the te reo Maori and the English words.
Uli Thie provided technical assistance in developing the mould, by working closely with the building contractors Arrow, and the concrete suppliers Stresscrete, we investigated and refined a method of laser cutting the individual typographic characters in blue foam and gluing them to a backing sheet. The slab was prefabricated off-site and installed as a single unit early in the construction process.
Installed: June 2012
Client: Athfield Architects/Massey University
Designer: Nick Kapica
Technical consultant: Uli Thie
Typeface: Three Six