Te Whare Nui o Tuteata; SCION Timber Innovation Hub



  • World Timber Building of the Year, World Architecture Festival 2020 - 2021

  • World Higher Education and Research Building of the Year, World Architecture Festival 2020 -2021

  • Finalist for World Building of Year, World Architecture Festival 2020 -2021

  • World Architecture Festival Finalist 2020-2021, Wood Prize, Lisbon

  • Laureate of the Eurasian Prize for Architecture 2021, Yekaterinburg, Russia

  • NZIA New Zealand Award for Architecture 2021 - Commercial Architecture

  • Architizer World Architecture + Wood Winner, Architizer A+ Awards 2021

  • Architizer World Architecture + Wood Winner - Popular Choice, Architizer A+ Awards 2021

  • Best of Best Masterprize Award for Green Buildings, 2021 Architecture Masterprize Awards, USA

  • Honorable Mention, The Influencer Award, Indo-Pacific INDE AWARDS, Sydney, 2021

  • The Building Award, Indo-Pacific INDE Awards, Sydney, 2021

  • Architecture Masterprize Award 2021 for Commercial Buildings, 2021 Architecture Masterprize Awards, USA

  • Property Council NZ Award of Excellence (Resene Green Building Property Award)

  • Property Council NZ Award of Excellence (Commercial Office Property Award)

  • Finalist 2021 ENVI Awards

  • NZIA Waikato/BOP Award for Architecture

  • Resene Colour Award

  • Finalist New Zealand Interior Awards, Workplace (over 1000m2)

  • Resene Total Colour Neutrals Award

  • Supreme Winner 2021 WGANZ Window and Glass Association of New Zealand Awards

  • The A+List: 161 World Architecture and Design Firms to Watch, Architizer 2021

  • Finalist for The Influencer Award, INDE Indo-Pacific Architecture Awards, 2020

  • Finalist for The Building Award, INDE Indo-Pacific Architecture Awards, 2020



  • “New World Architecture”, Architecture New Zealand, January/February 2022, pg 20-21

  • Te Whare Nui o Tuteata; SCION Timber Innovation Hub, Competitionline, www.competitionline.com, Holland, 10.1.2022


  • Andreea Cutieru, “World Architecture Festival 2021 Reveals Its Winners”, ArchDaily, www.archdaily.com, December 07

  • “WAF 2021 Special Prize Winners Celebrate Exceptional Architectural Merit”, Portugal Architecture News, https://worldarchitecture.org/, Portugal, December 01

  • Adam Williams “2021 Special Prize recognizes exceptional global architecture”, New Atlas, https://newatlas.com/, USA, December 01

  • “2021 New Zealand Architecture Awards”, Architecture New Zealand, Nov/Dec pg 81

  • “Te Whare Nui o Tuteata – SCION木材创新中心,新西兰 / RTA Studio + Irving Smith Architects 走进我们共同的森林”, Gooood, www.gooood.cn, China, 10 December.

  • “World Building of the Year 2021 announced”, Architecture Now, www.architecturenow.co.nz, 8 Dec

  • “Winners announced: 2021 New Zealand Architecture Awards”, Architecture Now, www.architecturenow.co.nz, Dec 2

  • “World Architecture Festival Announces First Category Winners For 2021”, Portugal Architecture News, www.worldarchitecture.org, Portugal, November 24

  • “WAF 2021 announces first winners of buildings and landscape categories!”, The Circle Space, www.thecircle-o.com, Turkey, November 22

  • “The A+List: 161 Architecture and Design Firms to Watch”, Architizer, www.architzer.com, Dec 7

  • Katherine Guimapang, “World Architecture Festival announces the 2021 Timber Prize Shortlist”, Bustler, www.bustler.com, USA, September 9

  • “ WAF Announced Timber Awards Shortlists”, Surfaces Reporter, www.surfacesreporter.com, India, September 9

  • “SCION Innovation Hub wins at WAF”, Architecture Now, www.architecturenow.co.nz, 24.11.2021

  • “SCION Innovation Hub receives Global Recognition”, Architecture Now, www.architecturenow.co.nz, 20 Dec

  • Sumit Singhal, “Scion Innovation Hub in Rotorua, New Zealand by RTA Studio + Irving Smith Architects”, AECCafe, https://www10.aeccafe.com, Dec 18, 2021

  • ‘More Accolades for Scion Te Whare Nui O Tuteata’, Architectrue Now, www.architecturenow.co.nz/articles/further-accolades-for-scions-te-whare-nui-o-tuteata/ 5.11.2021

  • “Scion Innovation Hub / RTA Studio + Irving Smith Architects”, Arch Daily, www.archdaily.com, 18 Nov 2021

  • Johnny D, ‘Dr Jeremy Smith Interview’, Zerobeyond, wwww.zerobeyond.com/dr-jeremy-smith-interview/ 13 September 2021

  • ‘NZ Local Architecture Awards 2021’ Architecture New Zealand, September/October, pg 80

  • “Inde Awards Official Shortlist 2021 – The Influencer”, Indesign #84 The ‘Education and Urbanism’ Issue, page 43

  • “Inde Awards Official Shortlist 2021 – The Building", Indesign #84 The ‘Education and Urbanism’ Issue, page 34

  • “World Architecture Festival 2021 shortlist”, Architecture Now, https://architecturenow.co.nz/articles/waf-2021-shortlist/, 12.8.2021

  • ‘The 2021 INDE Award Winners are Here!”, Indesign Hong Kong, www.indesignlive.hk, Hong Kong, 8 August 2021

  • ‘The 2021 INDE Award Winners are Here!”, Indesign Singapore, www.indesignlive.sg, Singapore, 8 August 2021

  • ‘Te Whare Nui O Tuteata Wins International Accolades”, Architecture Now, https://architecturenow.co.nz/articles/te-whare-nui-o-tuteata-wins-international-accolades/, August 7, 2021

  • Interior Awards 2021, Architecture NZ July/August 2021, Pg 98

  • Material Influence’, American Hardwood, www.americanhardwood.org, 18.8.2021

  • ‘Te Whare Nui O Tuteata – The Way of the Future’, Radio New Zealand,www.rnz.co.nz, 4 June

  • ‘Te Whare Nui o Tuteata; Houten Diagrid Als Groot Houtonderzoek’, Het Houblad, June 2021, pg 46-51

  • ‘Global Architecture Exchanges; People, Planet, Exchange, Profession’, RIBA, www.architecture.com, 4 June

  • ‘Wood for the Trees’, KiaOra Magazine, June 2021, pg 72-73

  • Matt Philp, “Kiwi Enterprise”, KiaOra Magazine, June 2021, pg 79

  • Chris Barton “The Technology of the Trees”, Architecture New Zealand, March April 2021, pgs Cover, 8, 54-64

  • “The 2021 NZIA Local Awards have begun: See the Waikato/Bay of Plenty winners inside.”, Architecture Now, www.architecturenow.co.nz, 1.5.2021

  • Chris Barton “The Technology of the Trees”, Architecture Now, www.architecturenow.co.nz, 01.04.21

  • Andrew Barrie, Jess Young and Jade Shum, Guide to Bay of Plenty Architecture, Block Map &, University of Auckland and New Zealand institute of Architects, 2021, pg 1-2

  • “Discover the 2021 Interior Awards finalists inside”, Architecture Now, architecturenow.co.nz, 6.5.2021

  • 2020

    • “Iconic representation in three peaks”, Building Today, 13 December

    • Abigail Hurst “A call to action”, Architecture New Zealand, AR0420 July August 2020 pg 26-32

    • Abigail Hurst, “A call to Action”, Architecture Now, www.architecturenow.co.nz, 9/9/2020

    • 2019

      • “Transformational Timber”, Architecture New Zealand, May/June 19 2019, page 20-21

Undertaken in collaboration with RTA Studio and Dunning Thornton, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata provides a welcome to our national SCION Timber Research Institute in Rotorua, New Zealand; an educational invitation to come “Walk in Our Forest” and learn new and sustainable ways of resourcing and building with timber.

Sitting outside the fence-line to the campus, the building reveals itself like a forest on arrival with entry-level café, display and communal areas providing a real-life experience of science. Timber research is visibly happening in the upper floors and within a three-storey engineered-timber diagrid structure which challenges stereotypes to timber structural buildings. The expression of the diagrid legibly demonstrates that timber structural buildings do not need to be designed like steel and concrete buildings, but instead can act more like trees where strength follows the continuous grain of the wood. Here, an innovative timber structural node transfers loads and holds a seismic fuse to yield and be replaced after an earthquake. With this simple shift in thinking the structural size of the timber has reduced by around a quarter.

Being smaller means timber construction is easier to handle, transport and sustainably resource and ultimately change or re-use. This kind of thinking allows more buildings to be built in timber rather than more timber to be used in individual buildings; an approach not just useful to a small, isolated country like New Zealand where new machines and construction materials like steel and concrete generally come on a boat, but to larger countries where efforts to store carbon in buildings often is thought of in larger and larger components as the name ‘mass’ timber suggests. Sustainability does not mean more, it means less.

Te Whare Nui o Tuteata represents more than 10 years of advancement and sophistication in the way timber structural buildings are not just put together but conceptualised. The project is about benefitting futures and encouraging our participation with the environment. Thinking harder about how what timber is good at and how timber buildings might be better prefabricated and pieced together has resulted in a globally significant scientific demonstration of how we might build tomorrow.

The building achieves embodied carbon zero at end of construction, which includes raw material mining, manufacturing, transportation, and installation, and without any offsetting of carbon credits. Whole of life carbon usage over the next 60 years are about 2/3rds those of current 2020 RIBA reference building targets. In numbers the building sequests 530,488kg of carbon, or around 300kg of carbon per square metre, and stores approximately 415 tonnes of C02-e for the life of the building which is equivalent to the emissions of 160 flights around the world. The building is ahead of its time, the 455m3 of structural timber is regrown every 35 minutes in New Zealand.

Te Whare Nui o Tuteata provides an invitation to researchers, the timber industry, and the community to come understand the value of timber research and innovation and be part of the future. The building represents a real prototype, rather than just a possibility, for all future buildings and lays a marker on New Zealand’s journey to be carbon zero by 2050.

We hope everybody joins the adventure and helps use timber sustainably to improve our participation with the planet.

Come walk in our forest.

Irving Smith Architects © 2022 | Website by Lucid