WOOLSTON COMMUNITY HUB
Woolston, New Zealand
Public & Community
Woolston is the final area in Christchurch to have its community centre rebuilt after the 2011 earthquakes. Ignite’s design provides a modern, welcoming, multi-purpose facility inspired by the history of the region.
Woolston has a strong industrial heritage and once lay at the heart of a historic transport route between Christchurch and the ferry terminal. The aptly named Ferry Road is the location for the new Woolston Community Hub. It replaces the Woolston Community Library, built in 1871, which was demolished due to earthquake damage.
Ignite was commissioned by the Christchurch City Council to implement the design for the new Woolston Community Hub. It will house the library and offer new facilities including a hall, small meeting room and public toilets.
The history and vernacular of the region has driven the design of the Woolston Community Hub. The architects were already very familiar with the area, with many travelling through it on their daily commute.
The building comprises three main areas – an outdoor courtyard, the library and the hall. The Christchurch City Council plans to convert the driveway running the length of the building into a pedestrian laneway, featuring a street art mural. With a main carpark lying behind the site, this will activate the area and provide a strong link through to the new Woolston Community Hub.
A simple material palette of red brick, black steel and timber reflects the traditional local architecture style. It also takes inspiration from the original Woolston Community Library, which was largely constructed from the distinctive red brick. Exposed steel beams give a nod to the industrial character of the area.
From Ferry Road, the courtyard provides a welcoming entrance. The open, timber-beamed ceiling takes inspiration from the traditional veranda, echoing the style of historic buildings nearby. The height of the building matches the scale of the surrounding streetscape. Landscaping will soften the zone, with a mature tree planned to sit at the courtyard’s centre.
All internal spaces are multi-purpose and flexible in their use, allowing for larger community events, such as a market day.
CELEBRATING THE PAST
Along with the thoughtful design and specification of materials, Ignite intends to honour the history of the site by including the few surviving artefacts from the old Woolston Community Library. This includes the original foundation stone commemorating the coronation of King George V, historic brass plate and portions of stained glass from the windows.
The design team also intend to celebrate the craftmanship of constructing with traditional materials. These will be sourced from the local region as much as possible, including the red brick being supplied by the only remaining manufacturer in the South Island.