The old HQ building at Hobsonville Point (circa 1938) was one of the first to be erected by the government on the land newly purchased as a defence base. An uncompromisingly solid bunker of a building in the Art Deco style it is constructed of masonry walls and roof, and steel window joinery.
The building is at the absolute heart of the site opposite the parade ground and ceremonial flagpole. In 2011 a granite and basalt memorial was commissioned “To All Who Have Passed This Way,” honouring the men and women who lived and worked at Hobsonville Air Base. The building exterior needed to be singing with a new colour scheme in time for the unveiling in April 2012.
Passion ran high about the colour scheme for HQ so to avoid ‘paralysis by committee’, they elected to paint it the original colours. It is hard to argue with authenticity. Salmond Reed removed the various coatings and layers of paint to reveal the originals. The 1938 colours were matched to Resene Kalgoorie Sands, Resene Lonestar and Resene Kaitoke Green, and thus the colour scheme was decided! Although a little unexpected to the contemporary eye, this deep colour combination was typical for the time.
Jeremy Salmond of Salmond Reed says that even though they are “constantly surprised by colours, these were military buildings, and the military were not known for being too racy.”
Concrete plaster, wall columns, reveals and soffits were finished in Resene AquaShield mineral effect a dead flat finish that is superbly contrasted with the high gloss finish of Resene Super Gloss on steel windows and the high gloss Resene Enamacryl on timber doors and frames. Even the concrete steps got a lick of Resene Dark Grey to complete the exterior finish.
It turns out discovering the original colours was the easy part. Although the building had only been painted twice in its history, the existing modern acrylic coating had moisture trapped behind it causing the paint to bubble and buckle. Large areas of acrylic coating had to be removed via a painstaking process of mechanical scraping back. The preparation and repaint was completed in the nick of time and the building formed a fitting backdrop to the unveiling of the memorial.
HQ’s new look is more than a makeover. It signals a new beginning for the building and communicates a commitment to its preservation and reuse. Over the next 3-4 years the earthquake proofing and internal upgrade will be completed so that HQ can be retained, both as a reminder of the important place the base holds in Auckland’s history and for use by the new community growing around it.
Resene Kalgoorie Sands
Resene Kaitoke Green
Resene Dark Grey
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