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Lake Waikaremoana building finalist in architecture awards
4 August 2017

With an outlook over Lake Waikaremona, the $6 million ‘‘living’’ building Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana has reached the finals of the 2017 New Zealand Architecture awards in the public architecture category.


The new dual-function building at Lake Waikaremoana, built by Ngai Tuhoe, is a finalist in the 2017 New Zealand Architecture Awards.

Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana by Wellington-based Tennent+Brown Architects is a finalist in the public architecture section.

Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana is created by Ngai Tuhoe and supported by investment from the Department of Conservation. Its dual function is to cater to visitors of Lake Waikaremoana and the Great Walk, and to serve as an administration space for local iwi authority.

The centre includes ticketing, interpretation, cafe, kitchen, administration, retail and wananga space.

Project lead Hugh Tennent said the late Ivan Mercep initiated space planning for the project, with Tennent Brown reconceiving the building form and developing the arrangement of spaces in a revised concept design.

“The new concept draws from the geomorphology of sandstone slabs at nearby Onepoto Bay, which originated from a slip that formed the lake many millennia ago.

“The roof drapes between precast elements, expressing the basin of the lake, with exposed rainwater cables from which rain falls to lake stone swale below.”

Ngai Tuhoe elected to over-clad the precast with burnt timber, giving expression to ‘ahi ka’, the home fires of occupation.

“The building represents for them a remarkable return to inhabiting Te Urewera after many decades of exclusion.”
Veranda for trampers and visitors

The broad overhanging draped roof provides generous veranda spaces for trampers and visitors.

The main space provides manaakitanga (hospitality) and wananga (learning) with supporting administration, retail, kitchen and cafe spaces.

The building was designed to be constructed with minimal site time, implementing prefabrication to mitigate the risks and costs of building remotely. Using locally-sourced materials and labour was a high priority, Mr Tennent said.

It was designed in accordance with the Living Building Challenge (LBC), achieving a ground-breaking approach to sustainability. Ngai Tuhoe have also used LBC at Te Whare Kura in Taneatua.

“LBC aims to transform how we think about our built environment, providing a framework to achieve a toxic/chemical-free building industry, championing energy, water and waste-neutral buildings and communities.

Fifty-one projects have been shortlisted in New Zealand’s leading architecture awards programme.

The finalists in the New Zealand Architecture Awards are located at sites around the country, from the Bay of Islands to Central Otago, and range from new houses to schools, churches and office buildings.

Twenty-one of the shortlisted projects are in or around Auckland, eight are in Christchurch and seven in Wellington.

In May the building won its category at the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay Architecture Awards.

The winners of this year’s New Zealand Architecture Awards will be announced in November. Buildings in the categories of housing, commercial, education and public architecture will be considered for signature awards named for four influential New Zealand architects: Sir Ian Athfield, Sir Miles Warren, Ted McCoy and John Scott.

Gisborne Herald

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