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From the Resene News – issue 4/2012

Wood work - Waipa Woodprocessing Workshop

Waipa Woodprocessing WorkshopAs a teaching facility for Forestry and Horticulture Industry, Waiariki Institute of Technology’s brief for the Waipa Woodprocessing Workshop in Rotorua was for a building to showcase the use of timber in every aspect and link the ESD qualities of timber with other initiatives such as solar water, rainwater harvesting and advanced septic treatment system. While timber has been used for almost every conceivable component, and mindful of a saying ‘couldn’t see the trees for the wood’, colour has also been used as the primary device to define the architectural language and inject a liveliness, without lessening the amount of timber used.

Existing saw-tooth buildings and stacked timber packs are referenced and give local context to the form. A circulation route slices and divides the workshop and teaching spaces in plan, and in section/elevation, the pointed roofline is the blade separating the forms. External claddings are linked to the two types of stacked pallets on site, the routered plywood panels (whole wood end grain) and slatted Verda battens (drying). The screens were extended on the north to provide maintenance access, sunshading and concealment to services and plant.

Colours for the exterior were chosen to maintain the timber, where they can age gracefully into this gritty and harsh environment. Verda battens are laid over plywood stained Resene Grey Green (deep green), to provide contrast. The entry canopy glulam structure has been coated in a Resene Japanese Maple (nature red) stain to lift and define it.

The interiors were an integral part of the structure from concept design to express the timber structure and articulate the connections. While timber features predominantly, areas are broken with splashes of colour (Resene Planter (green olive)) in doors and built-in joinery and acoustic wall linings. Resene Colorwood tinted to Resene Fern Frond (yellow green), Resene Japanese Maple and Resene Grey Green brings the exterior colour indoors with a fresh fern accent. In the teaching areas the flooring, acoustic panels and stained plywood linings are linked to provide an interesting colour graphic. Colours are a complementary play on greens, which work well with the timber and controlled injections of rusty reds, linking the Waiariki corporate red.

Waipa Woodprocessing Workshop

Waipa Woodprocessing Workshop

The clever use of timber with colour won this project the Resene Total Colour Education Award. The judges admired ”such a clever use of colour to highlight the main attraction; this project highlights sustainability with the broad use of natural materials while intricately using colour in highlighting. It has used a fantastic combination of the natural screen over the stained timber to amplify both materials. This dark stain behind exterior screen makes the screen more powerful and gives an amazing play of light on the colour behind. It gives nuance of colour, creating dimension and a liveliness.

The strength of green matched with the timber is reminiscent of fresh foliage and the greater environment. The stains draw attention to the key timber elements so appropriate for this educational facility. Wood is the star of the show and yet the colour has underscored this and excites it and draws your eye to the star.

Architectural Specifier: Darryl Church
Building Contractor: Ronanye Construction
Painting Contractor: Holmac Ltd
Photographer: Graeme Murray


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