The Waitangi Day opening of the Wharewaka building and events centre re-establishes a Maori presence on the Wellington waterfront, and provides a permanent mooring for two ceremonial waka

View of skyscrapers in Chengdu. architecture, ceiling, daylighting, line, lobby, metropolitan area, structure, symmetry, black
View of skyscrapers in Chengdu.

Opening up waterfront land to the public has been an ongoing focus for most city councils in New Zealand. In Wellington, the new Wharewaka building and event centre, owned by the Wharewaka o Poneke Charitable Trust, not only creates a public venue on the waterfront, but also re-establishes a Maori presence on the site of the former Te Aro pa.

Connal Townsend, chief executive of Property Council New Zealand, says the building has an important cultural and civic role to play.

"The Wharewaka project was a significant undertaking, in location, build, and the level of consultation required. But beyond that, the building takes on a special role in storytelling passing on the history of the area and the pa located on the harbourfront up to the 1880s. In that sense, the building is very much a living thing and a tremendous asset to Wellington."

Designed by architecture + and constructed by LT McGuinness, Wharewaka will showcase and shelter two ceremonial waka, and incorporates offices, exhibition and events facilities, and a cafe.

View of the Wharewaka building and event centre architecture, real estate, recreation, structure, water, waterway, teal, gray
View of the Wharewaka building and event centre on the Wellington waterfront.

The architectural team says the building has strong spatial relationships to the open space on all sides and was designed with respect to traditional marae conventions. The team also says the building's presence is seen as beneficial in many ways to the cultural development of the city.

A distinctive aspect of the architecture is the concept of the exterior cloak or korowai, which is an outer layer that shelters the building, much as a korowai protects the body. The cloak drapes down the building's sides, enclosing spaces as required, while providing transparency, shelter and shading.

Dan McGuinness of LT McGuinness says the unique shape of the roof and a tight timeframe posed several construction challenges.

"Fortunately, we were able to be involved from an early stage, which provided benefits in terms of the construction methodology."

View of the Wharewaka building on the Wellington building, monument, sky, blue, gray
View of the Wharewaka building on the Wellington waterfront.

To contact Property Council New Zealand, phone (09) 373 3086. Email: enquiries@propertynz.co.nz. Website: www.propertynz.co.nz.

To contact LT McGuinness, phone (04) 384 8455. Website: www.ltmcguinness.co.nz.

Story by: Trendsideas

17 Mar, 2011

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