Waitangi Visitors Centre

Completed 2016

Waitangi Visitors Centre Awards:
Heritage
NZIA – Auckland Architecture Awards Winner 2017

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are one of New Zealand’s most important historical sites, which have now become a very significant tourist destination, whose numbers increase every year. To enhance the visitor experience, there was a need to upgrade the Visitor’s Centre. The original Waitangi Visitors Centre, by Architect John Scott – opened in 1983. The design was a single large gable-ended building, with the front reflecting the form of a wharenui. A major consideration was to retain and preserve the integrity of John Scott’s original design concepts such as the simple play of open and enclosed space. These sequences of spaces make up a journey, demonstrated through the movement between spaces and buildings.

HB Architecture designed a glass-covered courtyard leading to the west façade, providing a meeting point for guided tours and an open space before entering. The large retail volume of the building will be seen with the high-level windows beyond while connecting to the native forest that envelops the building. The original gable-ended roof has been extended and revealed, whilst maintaining the lines of the current ridge and structure. To the east, the elevated walkway connects the Visitor’s Centre to the rest of the Waitangi Treaty grounds.

Waitangi Visitors Centre Awards:

Heritage

NZIA – Auckland Architecture Awards Winner 2017



The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are one of New Zealand’s most important historical sites, which have now become a very significant tourist destination.

With increasing numbers visiting every year, there was a need to upgrade the Visitor’s Centre in order to enhance the visitor experience.

The Waitangi Visitors Centre, by Architect John Scott – opened in 1983. The design was a single large gable ended building, with the front in the form of the whare veranda.

Over the years the building has undergone many changes and addition to cater for both administration and visitor needs.

A major consideration was to retain and preserve the integrity of John Scotts original design concepts and ideas. One of which was the simple play of open and enclosed space. These sequences of spaces make up a journey, which can be demonstrated from the gateway building to the visitors centre and throughout.

The glass-covered courtyard leading to the west façade (designed by HB Architecture)
provides a meeting point for guided tours and an open space before entering. This side of the building will remain untouched.

The large retail volume of the building will at last be able to be seen with the high-level windows beyond giving connection to the many native trees that envelop the building. 

This was always John Scott’s intention (as interpreted from the drawings), however, due to pressure of numbers of visitors to the building a series of modifications blocked this significant view. 

The large original gable ended roof has been extended and revealed, whilst maintaining the lines of the current ridge and structure. To the east, the elevated walkway connects the Visitor’s Centre to the rest of the Waitangi Treaty grounds.