Architects want Urewera visitor centre saved
22 August 2016
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A 40-year-old visitor centre earmarked for demolition in Te Urewera National Park is a unique and increasingly recognised building that deserves to be saved, architects say.
The New Zealand Institute of Architects is appealing for a reprieve for the 1976 Aniwaniwa Visitor Centre.
The building, which was commissioned by the Department of Conservation, was designed by John Scott, a pioneer Maori architect whose work is increasingly recognised, according to Institute of Architects president Christina van Bohemen.
"Aniwaniwa is a unique building designed by a unique architect for a unique place," she said.
"It strongly expresses some of the defining characteristics of John Scott's architecture: concern for the land, a sensitive approach to site, and an innovative fusion of modern architecture and Maori building and design traditions."
Ms van Bohemen said DOC Deputy Director-General Mervyn English, who made the decision on the demolition, was using the department's failure to maintain the building as justification for its destruction.
Poor conditions have been cited as the reason.
"If there is a will, there are ways to restore Aniwaniwa and find a use for it," Ms Bohemen said.
"It is always disappointing when government agencies fail to protect the national legacy, but it is unforgivable when they actively promote its destruction."
DOC was not immediately able to respond to the criticism.