Bringing the best community facilities to life

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Steve Gracey


Steve Gracey


Awards , Projects
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Four of RLB’s recent civic, health and arts projects have been recognised at the Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards held in Auckland last month.

The first community hall in Aotearoa New Zealand attaining ultra-low energy Passive House standard, the Luggate Memorial Centre (Te Whare Mahana) was built to replace the earthquake–prone community hall.

The centre was envisioned as a healthy and comfortable focal point for the community heart for years to come.

Set on 9,021 square metres of strategically landscaped grounds, the 420 square metre building boasts a main hall with capacity of 200 and a boardroom meeting room for 30 people.

Despite the hot summers and cold winters of Otago, the passive building is at a constant temperature of 20-22° year-round.

It includes high‐performance windows and doors, excellent insulation, an airtight building envelope, no thermal bridges, mechanical ventilation, and design-stage energy modelling.

Dozens of community groups were engaged from the beginning of the process.

Rider Levett Bucknall Director Tony Tudor said, “Most passive buildings constructed in New Zealand have been in the residential sector. However, Queenstown Lakes District Council had a clear vision from project outset to deliver a high performing and sustainable community facility.”

The new purpose-built 1,100 square metre Motueka Public Library – Te Noninga Kumu replaced the previous library which was grossly undersized to meet the population it serves.

Sustainable construction was implemented right from the start.

The new facility was built with almost 100% timber, and minimal use of steel and concrete.

An automated lighting control system, mixed mode (passive and active air-conditioning) with automatic window actuators, rainwater-collecting tank, a soak-pit to dispose of any onsite stormwater overflowing from the collection tank, and a 100KWp solar power system was installed complete with battery storage.

Rider Levett Bucknall Director Bevan Hartley described the facility as, “A unique and meaningful asset for the community – one for present and future generations to enjoy.”

The Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre (SHMPAC) is situated on 9,313 square metres of land gifted by Ngāti Whakaue in the heart of Rotorua.

The elegant venue is a category 1 building with historical significance combining Spanish Mission style architecture with contemporary Māori design.

It originally opened in 1940 and has been home to municipal offices, various public facilities, convention centre, and a performing arts centre.

Restoration work began in 2020 to restore this key heritage treasure.

The design team took on a holistic approach, dovetailing structural strengthening, architecture, heritage, and bi-cultural involvement including artwork by Ngāti Whakaue artist and designer Henriata Nicholas.

Retention of the historical value of the building, keeping much of the original design and materials was important.

The build included the installation of a chain-driven orchestra lift platform, the first of its kind in New Zealand, as well as the latest sound and lighting.

Rider Levett Bucknall Director Cameron Whyte said, “Emphasis on the heritage features can be seen in every detail throughout the building. The outcome is rewarding.”

Te Huhi Raupō at Taranaki Base Hospital brings a holistic shift to the care of dialysis patients and their whānau.

The 806 square metre outpatient clinic packs is climate-conscious and shifts the expectations of what is possible in healthcare.

The single-level, accessible and passively orientated building spans a valley between the hospital and a residential street.

It provides 12 dialysis treatment chairs, consultation and support spaces and a reverse osmosis water treatment plant.

The design features a locally sourced mass timber structure, solar panels, and reclaimed timber cladding, and is a global leader in Zero Energy and Zero Carbon certifications for healthcare buildings.

It creates an optimal environment for patient wellbeing with ocean views, natural daylight and careful consideration of privacy, air quality, acoustic and thermal performance.

Rider Levett Bucknall Director Richard Anderson said the facility is, “An exemplary building taking an extraordinary step towards future sustainable healthcare and a decarbonised built environment in Aotearoa while delivering quality to the greater community.”

Hosted by Property Council New Zealand with the support of Principal Sponsor Rider Levett Bucknall, the Property Industry Awards is the most prestigious property awards programme in New Zealand, celebrating excellence in design and innovation in the built environment for over 20 years.

Rider Levett Bucknall in Auckland Managing Director Steve Gracey said, “It has been RLB’s great privilege to play a role in delivering fresh perspectives and flawless execution to bring the best community facilities to life. Many are social connectors and provide opportunities for lifelong learning”

Whakamihi to all the winners
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