Henderson Library & Unitec Facilities
 

Henderson Library & Unitec Facilities

Client:
Auckland Council (formerly Waitakere City Council) / Unitec

Location:
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Completion:
2006

Size:
8,000m2

Project Value:
$35.5m

Design Partner
Athfield Architects and landscape architects, Wraights & Associates

Contact:
Malcolm Bowes

This project consists of the Henderson Library (formerly Waitakere City Central Library), which also integrates the Unitec collection, and new teaching facilities for the Unitec Institute of Technology.

Sited adjacent to the existing Unitec building in Henderson, the two buildings (and a third attached car parking building) are arranged around a new pedestrian street and urban square to form a new civic precinct. Part of a building programme that includes the nearby Henderson Service Centre (formerly Waitakere Civic Centre), the project intended to act as a catalyst for the future development of the Henderson CBD.

Developed in partnership with Te Kawerau ā Maki the conceptual framework for this community library draws upon the concept of a traditional wharenui – the domain of unity and peace. Wharenui often symbolise an important tribal ancestor; the building elements of the whare representing the body parts of that ancestor. The koruru (gable figure) symbolises the head, the tāhuhu (ridgebeam) its backbone and the heke (rafters) the ribs. The library follows this structural framework, the tāhuhu being a continuous truss that spans the length of the library building. This symbolic backbone also alludes to the ridgeline of Ngā Rau Pou a Maki (the Waitākere Ranges) an important geographic feature and taonga of this rohe.

The library is the largest in the area, with a depth of collection and a range of services greater than any of the city’s other libraries. The collections available include a specialist collection for the entire library system, an extensive New Zealand and Pacific collection and a developing corporate library service.

The general health collection of the adjacent Unitec Nursing and Health Studies faculties have been integrated with the public collection while the specialist textbooks have a separate section for staff and students on the upper floor of the library.

The new Unitec building accommodates general teaching, laboratories, lecture and student facilities and administration.

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The form of the library was arrived at in collaboration with mana whenua. It is based on the ceremonial whare (house) with the great open web truss (which is expressed inside and runs the full height and length of the library), the tāhuhu (ridgepole); the carved decoration on the supporting posts, poupou (ancestral carvings); benches in front of the library, paepae (resting place); and the forecourt, the aatea (ceremonial forecourt).

Client:
Auckland Council (formerly Waitakere City Council) / Unitec

Location:
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Completion:
2006

Size:
8,000m2

Project Value:
$35.5m

Design Partner
Athfield Architects and landscape architects, Wraights & Associates

Contact:
Malcolm Bowes

Awards

NZIA Auckland Architecture Award – Community and Cultural 2006