Toia Ōtāhuhu Recreation Precinct


From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery of entries

Resene Total Colour Awards 2016
Toia Ōtāhuhu Recreation Precinct

Ōtāhuhu is the location of an important portage for Maori, lying as it does at one of the narrowest pieces of land between the Waitemata and Manukau harbours. It has long been a meeting point and the vision for the Precinct was for it to be a focal point and hub of community activity.

In locating the library, Aquatic Centre and Recreation Centre within the one building the planning challenge was to encourage exploration of the entire precinct by the various different users; the key driver was to get visitors to the heart of the precinct where they can comprehend all it has to offer. This drove the circulation planning to deliver visitors to the point where all circulation routes intersect and where all the offerings; Library, Recreation Centre, Aquatic Centre and outdoor spaces are visible at once.

Urban design analysis highlights the site’s connectedness to the wider Ōtāhuhu context. The high street is within five minutes’ walk and the Ōtāhuhu Train Station is within ten minutes’ walk. The concept of combining a Library with a Recreation Centre and Aquatic Centre is an innovative one. This creates the opportunity for ‘swimmers’ to become ‘readers’ and ‘readers’ to become ‘swimmers’, and is exploited in the planning approach where one of the main entries and circulation routes is through the library. The vision of children, in wet swimwear making their way through the Library, led to the decision to use rubber flooring in the Library.

External materials were chosen for their robustness, durability and to some extent, to be consistent with materials used on the existing Recreation Centre. Internal materials selection responded to similar criteria; pools and pool surrounds are all tiled; change rooms are constructed from concrete blocks with an epoxy paint finish. Interior design focussed on creating a light, airy pool all that benefitted from large amounts of natural daylight entering via roof lights and high glazed walls. The ability to move from the pool hall to external water play and picnic areas also serves to break down the notion of a totally internal space.

recreation centre and Library
pool detail

The inspiration for the colour scheme was the vibrant, multi-cultural community of Ōtāhuhu. The high street of Ōtāhuhu provides an assault to the senses with its smells, sounds and colourful shop displays featuring merchandise from the Pacific and South Asia. The community is also young and the choice of bright and vibrant, primary colours including Resene Pursuit, Resene Onepoto, Resene Spotlight and Resene Rio Grande were seen as an appropriate choice for this demographic. At the same time the interiors were required to be light and airy so the use of off white Resene Merino and the light neutral Resene Truffle in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen was carefully considered in terms of placement to maximise impact without compromise to the light, airy feel of the building. Vibrant colours in the Toia Ōtāhuhu Recreation Precinct were used at high and in low levels of the interior allowing the ‘in-between neutral space’ to be filled with colour by the presence of the community.

Finishes include general block work, concrete beams and columns are in Resene Uracryl 403 in Resene Truffle, a finish also used in Resene Rio Grande in the change room. The diagonal steel structure in the pool area is finished in Resene Enamacryl in Resene Masala, doors in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel, the concrete floor in Resene Armourcote 512 tinted to Resene Half Stonewall and interior channel drains in wet areas in Resene Armourcote 510.

Resene Aquaclear was used on the timber bringing a natural warm element to the space. The resilient red Resene Pulse was used as a feature colour in the fitness faculties and the energetic green Resene Rio Grande for the changing rooms which complement the natural concrete and timber finishes.

library detail-1
library detail-2
pool detail

An indoor pool is a particularly challenging environment so correct paint specification was fundamental in achieving long term durability and lessening maintenance. A project specific specification was prepared by Resene. The fritted glass pattern on the external glazing (as are some of the flooring and paving patterns) is a reference to the rollers traditionally used to haul Waka during their portage.

A very important artwork installed above the library ramp is ‘Spirit Level’, by Daniel Clifford. It contains over 1000 individual, hand blown glass spheres, each one capturing the breath of an individual member of the Ōtāhuhu community for posterity.

The facility has allowed Ōtāhuhu residents to come together to swim, play, read and relax. The space and facilities create a hub of activity and focal point for Ōtāhuhu that is vibrant, and conveys a sense of fun, recreation and learning.

Architectural specifier: Creative Spaces Limited
Building contractor: NZ Strong
Client: Auckland Council
Interior designer: Creative Spaces Limited
Painting contractor: Mid Coatings
Photographer: Simon Devitt

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