Inspired by a new teaching initiative that involved a redesign of conventional classroom spaces at the University of Auckland’s Epsom Campus, this article considers the relationship between architecture, the built environment and education. It characterises the teaching space of the Epsom Campus as the embodiment of educational policy following its inception in the early 1970s. Heralded as a modernist work of architecture juxtaposing material and textural combinations, the Epsom Campus emerged as a metaphorical vanguard of teaching pedagogy that stood as a symbol of a more progressive and culturally inclusive style of education. With consideration for a different kind of architectural space and pedagogy at the city-based business school, the article extends an understanding of spatiality and learning, and argues the structural architectonics of the teaching space and the built environment confer their own pedagogical value. By drawing on the critical stance of Nietzsche’s genealogical methodology for reading history, strands of historical discourse and ‘vibrant materialities’ are considered so that the ‘built pedagogy’ of both contexts can be activated and explored.