Student_Union - Information and Records Management - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Student Union

1964 - 1967, Warren & Mahoney, $635,468

The Student Union building was designed by Warren and Mahoney and was opened in 1967. The building itself was designed to deal with the many varying functions of the union with a cafeteria, common rooms, offices and a theatre. The modernist design of the building worked well with the different functions. The main areas were combined into a central block, while the smaller spaces were strung out in narrow strips either side of the block.

Architectural Drawing of the proposed Student Union, Warren & Mahoney

"We elected to cradle the student union in a framework of closely spaced pre-cast concrete and pre-stressed, post-tensioned beams and columns. Every carefully designed junction, and every cable-termination block was displayed inside and out, making a construction tour de force. Out of this regular grid, the raking form of the auditorium, the box of the fly tower and the top-lit forms of the common rooms projected. At the 1967 opening ceremony Professor Alan Danks, chairman of the grants committee, described the building most succinctly as a skeletal encrustation."

Sir Miles Warren (Miles Warren an Autobiography, 2008)


Chronicle article 1966 Student Union under construction 1966


Student Union looking South 1967 Student Union from Avon

Student Union looking South-East 1967 Student Union North-East Entrance 1967

The new students union was state of the art and designed for the needs of the students of the time. The money to construct the union came from the college board, a public appeal and from a levy on the students themselves. This has been a lasting legacy with the current students union still being partly owned by the students.

Facilities included within the complex were a post office, two shops, the manager's and administrators' offices, rooms for the President and Executive of the student union, club/meeting rooms, billiards, television and music rooms, and a 'Canta' room. The student health services staff were also situated in the building with three consulting rooms.

Chronicle article 1967

One of the main features of the new union building was the theatre. With 450 seats and a fully-tiered amphitheatre style seating the theatre was very modern in design. Features also included an orchestra area with a hydraulic hoist to lower the musicians out of sight of the audience.

Chronicle article 1967 Ngaio Marsh Theatre 1967

"To the West of the theatre, which is complete with dressing rooms, is the main common room, with its striking scissor trusses in Malayan meranti supported by pre-cast concrete beams."

Chronicle February 1967

Shelley Common Room 1967 Cafeteria 1967


Student Union from Registry 1970



Student Union 1972