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MDC selects architect for facility

Design concepts by Warren and Mahoney earlier this year. GRAPHICS/ WARREN AND MAHONEY

Masterton District Council [MDC] has selected Architectus as the lead architect for the civic facility project.

The council confirmed funding for the development of a new civic facility through the adoption of its long-term plan in June.

The appointment of a lead architect came after the assignment of a quantity surveyor and fundraiser for the project.

Architectus was an award-winning firm with experience designing public buildings around New Zealand and Australia, including Christchurch’s replacement library after the Canterbury earthquakes.

MDC civic facility project committee chairwoman Tina Nixon said the appointment of an architect was a key part of the process.

“Because the tender process required candidates to demonstrate their ability to deliver similar projects, it was unlikely that a local firm could demonstrate similar projects they completed in-house.

“But there is an expectation that Architectus will partner with a local architectural firm to deliver some of the project and provide opportunities for direct employment for local architects.”

Nixon said one of the questions asked in the consultation period for the civic facility was what the public would like to see included in the design.

She said there had been favour for the civic facility to have a “rural flavour”, alluding to the possibility of something similar to the “modern woolshed” design concept done by Warren and Mahoney earlier this year.

Nixon said the community would be able to have a say in what the architects considered for the final design.

She said it was also expected that Wairarapa students studying architecture would be given opportunities for internships, and Wairarapa construction materials would be specified in the build.

MDC said the new civic facility would house a flexible theatre space that seated 500 people and could be used for a variety of performances, events, small conferences, and gatherings.

The facility would have a foyer that could also act as an exhibition space, an information hub that could include some council services, and meeting rooms and kitchen facilities to support the civic facility.

“These spaces will flow out, connecting with the outdoor surroundings.”

Nixon couldn’t give the Times-Age a final tender price for the architect because negotiations were ongoing.

“The point was raised at a meeting about the ability to design a building when we are unsure where it’s going. I’d like to highlight that this isn’t unusual.”

She said the concept could be altered for the size of the site, and preliminary planning and design could still be done before a site was secured.

MDC said a site for the civic facility was expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2022.

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