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Kelburn, Wellington

Underlying the development of the scheme is the notion that the Kelburn Cable Car Terminus is a transport hub and an important node in the network of the Cable Car/Botanic Garden visitor precinct.

Kelburn Cable Car Terminus entry

The arrival, discovery and departure pathways and view shafts are explored and given an architectural form. The scheme also addresses the experience of movement and connections at this node, together with the existing platform layout planning and the precinct landform.

The scheme articulates the ideas of movement and shelter with the development and structural system of laminated timber portal frames supported by round steel columns. Portal frames are progressively rotated as they descend the site. This enhances the concept of movement that is experienced through both arrival and departure.

Kelburn Cable Car Terminus laminated timber portals

A simply constructed roof layer over the portals describes the resulting elegant twist roof form. The primary structural element, the laminated timber portal, allows for a clear architectural language and form; off-site prefabrication and a cost-effective structural system of laminated timber is integrated with supporting steel, cross bracing and the glazing system.

The laminated timber portals were selected as a structural material to support the roof and with the glazing system they are the key conceptual idea. The timber portals are held by a secondary support system of steel columns.

Kelburn Cable Car Terminus circulation areas

The circulation areas all required barriers and these were formed in steel painted in the Resene Blast Grey range with steel balustrade rails in Resene Blast Grey 1 (charcoal metallic), steel fascia in Resene Blast Grey 2 (charcoal metallic) and steel columns in Resene Blast Grey 3 (silver grey metallic). The combination of raw steel and timber reinforced the mechanical nature of pulling the cable car up and down the hill. The original specified spray finish in a windy and dense construction site provided some challenges. Eventually this was changed to rolled on Resene Enamacryl Metallic and a Resene Uracryl coat over the top.

The construction of an enclosure with a series of timber ribs echoes the construction methods of the early cable car carriages and is also seen in boat building methodology.

Kelburn Cable Car Terminus cable car decending

The judges awarded this project the Resene Total Colour Neutrals Award and felt “the images belie the impact. The cable car is left the hero and complemented perfectly with the appropriate and interesting use of a colour. The colour range reflects the industrial and mechanical nature of the building.

When you have a striking hero, such as the cable car, it would be very easy to detract attention by adding more and more colour. By using complementary hues in an ascending colour strength the palette becomes an interesting backdrop that frames the cable car, while still providing visual interest for those waiting when the cable car is enroute.

Wellington Cable Car

Kelburn Cable Car Terminus at night

A totally appropriate backdrop to that encased within.”

Architectural specifier: Bevin Slessor
Building contractor: Fletcher Construction
Client: Wellington Cable Car Ltd
Photographer: Paul McCredie
Winner: Resene Total Colour Neutrals Award
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2014
From the Resene News – issue 1/2015

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