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The brief involved creating a building that symbolised the coming together of the Kawakawa community, Hundertwasser, Maori and Pakeha. We studied the philosophies of Hundertwasser and local Iwi, working closely with all parties to create a building which expresses ‘unity’, using locally sourced sustainable materials as much as possible within budget.
The design enables the building to express cultural narratives and value systems, and it will increase tourism to the region, bringing jobs and new opportunities to a small rural town.
On an old riverbed with soft ground, the brief called for rammed earth walls. We sourced international company SIREWall to provide training and bring their Structural Insulated Rammed Earth wall system to NZ. We built walls with 30+MPa strength using locally sourced materials.
The client’s brief was to engage the community to help build a sustainable structure. 20 young locals were given the opportunity to team up with the SIREWall experts and the main contractor to build the rammed earth walls. This was an extremely technical build.
Five local Ngāti Hine Māori artists were engaged by the client to provide kaupapa and artwork for various expressive elements.
We arranged a full-weekend workshop for the artists and client to provide their input into the design elements of the building. We were sensitive to their cultural processes and systems, always playing a supporting role.
The end product has enhanced the overall design, speaks to the cultural narrative and it has built up relationships between local Iwi and the Trust.
Furthermore, the resulting feelings of companionship and unity have exceeded expectations.