This new facility designed for people of the Waikato region provides a community office building and reinvention of an historic site, featuring greater public visibility and accessibility.
The new two-storey building hosts Trust Waikato’s main offices on the upper floor and provides community groups free access to multi-purpose space on the ground floor.
Trust Waikato’s brief was to provide a building which recognised the rich history of the site – including its historic homestead, sculpture and trees – while taking into account its immediate surroundings including the Waikato River and adjacent Kirikiriroa Pā site. The building is also surrounded by three protected historic trees and an historic homestead. Construction of the building had to be carefully managed to avoid tree and root damage.
To fulfil the brief, Chow:Hill Architects mapped out many of the site’s features and found that it created an historical timeline of development in the area starting from the river's edge to the proposed building. In acknowledgement of the site's rich historical, cultural and physical context, and with advice from local Kaumātua, the design reflects key aspects from the timeline which include European and Māori development in the area.
Recognition of the timeline manifests itself in the design through the use of timber both internally and externally drawing inspiration from the historic homestead and adjacent Kirikiriroa Pā site. A key design feature is the triangulated timber colonnade to the front of the building referencing ‘Niho Taniwha’, in Māori artwork, with much of the interior theming derived from intricate patterns early Māori used in their eel nets or hinaki.
This resulted in the use of a lattice type pattern which is visible in the feature acoustic panels in the foyer ceiling, stair configuration, carpet layouts, carpet patterns, lighting configuration, rebates in the feature walls and glazing manifestations. Because the building is relatively small and incorporates a number of interior design features, the neutral Resene Zylone Sheen tinted to Resene Eighth Pearl Lusta was chosen for walls so they would act as backdrops for the feature elements. Feature walls were picked out in Resene Quarter Robin Egg Blue, Resene Quarter Lemon Grass and Resene Warrior.
The overall design draws inspiration from the site’s rich contextual character, producing a prominent and dramatic building which has been occupied with enthusiasm by Trust Waikato who have happily shared the building and gardens with the greater community, creating an asset for the whole region.
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