Best Design Awards 2016: Te Oro's community effort recognised

A creative centre for the young people of Glen Innes and Panmure won a Purple Pin at the 2016 Best Design Awards for its innovative architecture. 

The team at Archimedia chaired the design of the centre, Te Oro, but the process was open and collaborative.

Funded by Auckland Council, the planning enlisted the help of local artists, cultural advisors, mana whenua, environmental and landscape specialists. Their efforts were rewarded when Te Oro was named a Supreme Winner in the Nga Aho category and awarded a Purple Pin in the 2016 Best Design Awards.

Design director and Archimedia owner Lindsay Mackie says working on Te Oro was special because the whole design process was placed in the hands of the local community. “The council empowered the community to make every design it could. In practical terms this meant the community determined the brief, location the site for the building and chose which stories they wanted represented in the architecture. For us it was really satisfying collaborating with so may talented and genuine people.”

The recognition from the awards is for Auckland Council and the people of Glen Innes who helped create something to express their own identity, he says.

Archimedia held weekly open workshops in the nearby library so all residents could contribute to the project. “The wealth of ideas did become quite challenging, but because the process and relationships were authentic, when the right idea emerged, everyone was in agreement.”

The brief was to create a vibrant, state-of-the-art landmark building in the Glen Innes town centre – a place of much historical importance to local mana whenua.

Te Oro’s interior includes a 200-seat performance space, workshop and teaching spaces, a dance studio, music classroom and many other creative suites. The architecture features an open space with a crafted superstructure suspended above, supported by timber columns. The 1485m2 building has 256 PV panels on the roof, rainwater harvesting, above-code insulation, double glazing, heat pumps, and LED lighting.