From the Resene News – issue 3/2009
Tea time - Riccarton Park Racecourse Tea House
The Riccarton Park Racecourse Tea House was built in 1903 as part of a programme of improvements to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Canterbury Jockey Club in 1904. It was designed by local architects the Luttrell Brothers and cost £1300. A stylistically unpretentious Edwardian building of timber construction with large expansive verandahs, it was sited on a landscaped area surrounded by a moat.
The moat was formed through using excavation fill from the front of the main grandstand to create an island on which the tea house was built. Trees were planted around the island and the moat’s water came from the Waimakariri River and was subsequently stocked with fish. A rustic bridge provided access over the moat to the Tea House.
By the 1990s and no longer in use, its verandahs enclosed and the glazed doors removed to provide more internal space, it fell into disrepair and its future was precarious. With the formation of a Charitable Trust and significant fundraising in cash and kind, the Tea House reopened fully restored in 2008 having undergone structural repair and re-roofing, installation of new windows and doors to replicate the original ones, construction of a new building to provide toilet facilities, installation of a commercial kitchen and restoration of the interior and exterior.
Perhaps the biggest challenge was to preserve the history of the building while ensuring facilities were modern and commercially viable in the 21st century. The exterior colours, based on historical clues, needed to be subtle and sympathetic to the refurbished structure so a palette of Resene Rickshaw (baby brown) on weatherboards, Resene Slate Brown (rich brown) on joinery, Resene Dark Crimson (chestnut red) on accents topped in Resene Gull Grey (pastel grey) on the roofing was selected. Environmental Choice approved Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss waterborne was used on wall areas combined with Environmental Choice approved Resene Enamacryl waterborne gloss enamel on trims and joinery.
Now fully refurbished and operational, the ongoing commercial viability of the Tea House will help to ensure its preservation into the future.
Architect: William Fulton, Fulton Ross Team Architecture, Ian Harrison & Associates
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