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Te Uru Taumatua Living Building

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Te Uru Taumatua Living Building
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Tuhoe is a proud community of indigenous New Zealanders intent on cementing its identity as a people focused on a positive, distinctive future. Historically seen as a fierce tribe weathering many cultural and economic challenges, Tuhoe has begun to establish a bold new identity, starting with the construction of a new headquarters building for the community: Te Uru Taumatua, New Zealand's first Living Building. This recognition is a result of Te Uru Taumatua being constructed under the Living Building Challenge, an international sustainable building certification program that promotes the most advanced measurement of sustainability in the built environment.

The 2,000 square meter facility houses all the staff of the Tuhoe community leadership. In addition, it includes a library and a cafe and provides space for community meetings and cultural events. Architecturally, Te Uru Taumatua is designed to make an unmistakable first impression, an objective that is met on many levels, including the display technology provided by Planar Systems, an advanced video wall that greets all who enter through the main lobby. In the words of the building's designers and Tuhoe leaders, this technology speaks a thousand words about an ancient tribe that is determined to be seen as modern, growing and prosperous.

Planar Mosaic includes industry-leading sustainability features

The building was designed by architectural and design firm Jasmax, whose New Zealand offices are in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Tauranga. To maximize the impact of the building, the design firm Law Creative Group was engaged to manage creative inputs and the firm suggested a high impact, high-tech first impression. International award-winning, interactive media company Click Suite, based in Wellington, helped bring the Tuhoe tribe's dream of a central cultural community center to fruition. Click Suite commissioned and installed the Planar Mosaic video wall in the building's main lobby as a focal centerpiece. They also made some adjustments to make it 100% compliant with the very strict standards that a Living Building needs to meet. "Planar Mosaic is a tool with which we can inspire community but also convey our commitment to innovation," says Kirsti Luke, chief executive, Tuhoe. "Putting this advanced video wall in the main lobby of what we believe is an iconic building sets a powerful first impression and indeed says that we are true to both goals."

Planar Mosaic brought with it several industry-leading sustainability features. First among these is its off-board power supply. The off-board power supply allows the video wall to run quieter and cooler and avoids the need to invest in incremental cooling for the lobby space. In turn, by running cooler, the video wall lasts longer than competitive video walls – up to 50,000 hours – and requires less maintenance than other video walls. Also, power for each Planar Mosaic display comes via a single daisy-chained cable from the remote rack room, simplifying cabling and eliminating the cost to install a power outlet behind every display.

"In the off-board power supply design alone, Planar Mosaic enables Te Uru Taumatua to address key performance areas of the Living Building Challenge, including imperatives to reduce energy consumption, provide a healthy environment and achieve a lower carbon footprint," says Ivan Mercep, lead designer for Jasmax.

Unique sizes, shapes and overlapping placement create 3D effect

Planar Mosaic's selection for the Te Uru Taumatua building also came as a result of its unique combination of display shapes and sizes and the groundbreaking manner in which these displays can be installed. The building makes use of all three available Planar Mosaic display tiles: two 55-inch rectangular models (AD55 - Vincent™), one 46-inch rectangular model (AD46 - Pablo™) and five 22-inch (AD22 - Salvador™) square models. The video wall tile arrangement, while appearing random, is a carefully planned juxtaposition and overlapping of the differing shapes, with spaces between some tiles that are themselves integral to the video wall as a whole. "The juxtaposition creates almost a 3D effect, which really captures the viewer's attention and interest," says Emily Loughnan, director of Click Suite. "Also, content that is assigned to a tile of one size and shape can flow across the negative space to a tile of another size and shape and scaled to fit that tile as well. We're not used to video wall content being displayed in this manner, so it creates the impression of technological innovation that the Tuhoe people desire for themselves."

A design goal for Te Uru Taumatua was to provide a place of pride through identity for the Tuhoe people who could, in turn, express that to their many visitors. "Planar Mosaic technology has enabled us to vividly portray our people, our communities and our stories through this platform," Luke says. Currently, content brings to life largely Tuhoe cultural images, while work on providing the story of the Living Building Challenge is under way. "Planar Mosaic delivers imagery that is bright, crisp and life-like," Luke says. "It projects a very real picture of our community, our landscape, and its warmth and inspiration directly into our Living Building."

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