Oruku Landing – Events Centre

Concept design

The key building on the Oruku Landing project is the proposed Whangarei Events Centre. This is a multi-purpose theatre and events centre capable of accommodating up to 950 people with a variety of conference and entertainment modes.

The events centre is located on the eastern end of the site, bounded by both Riverside Drive and the Hatea Loop to the edge of the Hatea River.This will allow the main space to be used in a variety of configurations, including as a conference venue (catering for a wide range of participant numbers), trade shows as well as a performance space suitable for theatre in its many forms, dance, music and festive occasions such as banquets and cabarets to name a few.

The western end of the building includes a double height canopy that projects into the public plaza defining the main entry, with the main access being off the new plaza.

The foyer to the Whangarei Events Centre will include an open mezzanine level with cafe/restaurant facilities with the usual ticketing and administration areas located on the ground floor.

The main entrance facade will be largely glazed and together with the high-level canopy will provide a very welcoming entrance.The Riverside Road and Hatea Loop facades have limited glazing due to the internal use of the events centre.

The materials for the building include coloured precast concrete panels, aluminium window frames, painted exposed structural steel and weathering steel rain screen.

A crucial requirement to create a building that brings people together and celebrates its identity. To achieve this, the building and its surroundings needed to take into account local history, stories and values, encapsulate aspirations for the future and reflect how the resident’s of Whangarei wanted to be seen by the rest of the world.

The external envelope of the Events Centre is a very pragmatic enclosure, designed to be thermally and acoustically insulated, robust, durable and low maintenance.

Working in collaboration with Matakohe Architecture + Urbanism portions of the external building envelope have been modified and enhanced with unique patterns and planting to connect the building in a defined way to this place.

The enhancement of the building envelope includes ornate rain and sun screens to the edges of the roof, providing screening (in the form of open weave pattern – kete kai). To the main plaza, use of “patterned” glass to the projecting glazed function space above the main entry, patterned weathering steel around the service rooms to the east end of the building and an open weave geo-grid (open fishing net weave – kupenga) for a green wall to the north side of the building (providing visual connection to the pohutukawa to the edge of Riverside Drive and connecting further to the landscape leading up to the summit of Parihaka).

These are all design elements with meaning connecting back to the local history unique to this place.