The Akaroa Health Hub is a welcoming, integrated healthcare facility that restores an essential resource for the township after the 2011 earthquakes rendered the local hospital unusable. The hub is fit for 21st century medical purposes and caters to both general healthcare and palliative aged care patients. To avoid feeling stark or clinical, the space is imbued with character and reflects the local architectural style, ensuring the hub sits well within the historic context of Akaroa.
Ignite facilitated in-depth workshops using full-scale cardboard models to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including Canterbury District Health Board user groups and the wider community.
“Situated in a high-profile historic setting, Akaroa’s new health hub now operates from a carefully crafted building, built for and by the community.”
The building’s pitched steel gable roof, exterior wall cladding of brick and grooved timber, and its simple colour palette all speak to the local architectural vernacular. Although relatively simple in structure, the hub’s detailing adds visual interest and minimises the bulk of the building’s form.
Strategically placed ‘lantern-like’ skylights at the roof ridgeline flood the corridor below with natural light. They also pay homage to the previous hospital, which featured multiple chimneys and steeply pitched roofs. The paved central courtyard seamlessly connects the two building wings and offers a common area for both patient groups to enjoy.
As a community project, cost-effectiveness was key. The building form accommodates the site’s sloping gradient, reducing the visual dominance of the building and ensuring cost-savings could be achieved.
The completed design integrates the building form and aesthetic with the heritage context of the site, while meeting all medical operational and procedural requirements for the relatively remote region.