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Te Awamutu’s landscape inspires winning museum design

Paying tribute to the beautiful natural landscape helped Warren and Mahoney Architects win a nationwide competition to design a multi-million dollar museum and performing arts centre for 

Te Awamutu. Shannon Joe, a principal of Warren and Mahoney who led the design team which put forward the submission, says the location next to a park and surrounding streams inspired the concept as did historical aspects of the area’s Maori and Pakeha past.

“In terms of the park, it had a lot of historical significance with the local iwi as well as Europeans. The building plan and external form considers a flourishing Koiri as a tukutuku pattern with the building’s crafted form rising above the ground and gesturing over the township with its treasured ‘Uenuku’ embraced at its tip.

“The design offers highly flexible spaces for public performance and display of artefacts. Together the building will further strengthen Te Awamutu’s presence in New Zealand and in the world.”

Warren and Mahoney was one of five New Zealand architectural firms short-listed in the open competition and they were selected by a panel of judges from the Waipa District Council.

The design seeks to create a significant piece of architecture for Te Awamutu, a small town servicing a large rural area of about 40,000 people, located 30 km south of Hamilton in the Waipa District. “When it is built, it will become an iconic building for the town centre,” says Shannon Joe.

Estimated at around $14.2 million to build, the museum will eventually showcase local heritage and culture and provide space for performing and visual arts. It will be built on a council owned site opposite the existing Te Awamutu events centre, adjacent to Selwyn Park.

Concept sketch