Enriching the experience of students and staff at University of Otago

The University of Otago is New Zealand’s first university, founded in 1869. Research-led, it has an international reputation for excellence and is renowned for its exceptional campus and learning environments.

The design of the new Information Services Building supports the university's vision of providing "Excellence in learning and living environments that enrich the experience of students and staff".

Our partner Europlan led the full furniture fit out project for the Student Study Space in the building, specifying PLN Group's work pods to provide areas for focused work.

The brief: Enriching student experience

The University of Otago Library Services Team were looking to refurbish the existing Student Study Space on the ground floor of the Information Services Building (ISB) on the Dunedin Campus. Housing the award winning Central Library, the ISB supports a mixture of large and small group study space and individual focused study areas.

The issue: The Library Services Team had identified that the existing space didn’t meet the needs of students:

  • It was accommodating too many large group areas and not supporting the increasing demand for small group and individual study space.
  • The furniture in the existing space was also tired and uninspiring.

The University selected our partner Europlan to work with the University of Otago Library management and the University’s Strategic Architect to provide solutions for individual and group study space.

The furniture solutions needed to:

  • fulfil the functions specified within the space plan, providing solutions for individual and group study space
  • be robust and inspiring, with an innate understanding of the flexibility essential to the University’s localised reconfiguration requirements
  • zone the space, creating a transition from public space at the entrance of the building to more private and focused spaces at the rear

The solution: Creating small group and individual study space

A combination of individual and small group focus pods were selected to provide spaces for students to work productively without distraction either by themselves or in collaboration with their peers.

These solutions included:

  • Return Focus Pods (pictured right) - placed in a light filled spot at the rear of the room for added visual and acoustic privacy. These are the perfect spot for some quiet focused study.
  • Share Pods - (pictured below) providing added noise reduction for small group sessions for those sharing the pods, and also reducing noise exposure for those working nearby. These Share Pods incorporate nanofibre technology for added noise reduction.
  • Customised pod series - (pictured below) interconnected pods designed for individual focus work were custom designed for this project by our Design Team. Students seeking a work desk in a semi-quiet zone can select these spots for study.

All options offer the opportunity for cable management so that those working in them can use or charge their devices.

Learn more about Return Focus Pods (Lite)

Client feedback

The ISB refurbishment project has been very well received by both students and staff.

The level of utilisation and activity within the Student Study Space gives further confirmation that the solutions provided by the Europlan team have delivered a positive result that meets the project objectives. This calm, light filled and well considered space will contribute to the enrichment of the learning environment of those who are using it.


Furniture fit out: Europlan

Project lead: Helen Dennis

Photography: Jonny Knopp

Contact us or one of our partners to discuss your needs.

Learn more about our pods: