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New building plans before council

CONCEPT plans for two major building projects, the new administration block for Gisborne District Council in Fitzherbert Street, and an upgrade and extension of the HB Williams Library, will go before the council for approval tomorrow.

The council will also be given a suggested name for the $11 million administration building: Awarua.

Both concepts have been prepared by architects Chow-Hill with input from local Maori artist Derek Lardelli. If the concepts are approved, the two projects will go to the next stage of design and build.

The council is recommended to approve the concept plan for the new administration building as presented and to approve the name Awarua.

It will also be asked to provide four council representatives for a client governance group that will be tasked from January with making the next stage of the process run smoothly.

The concept plan presented for the Fitzherbert Street building is based around a total budget of $11 million including professional fees.

It would include up to 223 workstations to accommodate the staff located at Kahutia Street and The Works, and those who will be located temporarily at the Emerald site and 39 Gladstone Road.

The building will have an earthquake-resistant structural capacity up to IL.4 so that civil defence can be located in one section.

Public interfaceFull customer and public interface will be provided with modern office facilities in a largely open-plan environment to maximise collaboration between staff and to use the space efficiently.

There will be a modern council chamber with the ability to incorporate up to 70 people in a public forum in addition to the council meeting table.

The total floor area will be 3260 square metres, which is 1000 square metres less than the existing Fitzherbert Street complex.

If the concept is signed off tomorrow, it will trigger a design process that is intended to reach the consent and tender stage by June or July, with demolition of the present building scheduled for August/September.

An explanation from staff for the choice of the recommended name Awarua says the concept is designed to be an attractive building with a welcoming civic presence and warrants a name.

It has been influenced heavily by Derek Lardelli, who was the inaugural Gallipoli artist in residence and is cultural adviser to the All Blacks and composer of the haka Kapa O Ponga performed by them at the Rugby World Cup.

Awarua, path to knowledgeThe name Awarua is his suggestion. In this context awa means pathway and rua means the repository of knowledge.

The council is also asked to approve the revised design concept for the HB Williams memorial Library, which has also been prepared by Chow-Hill and in which Mr Lardelli has also been involved.

The library has a total budget of $5.5 million, with the addition of grants from the Williams family and Eastland Community Trust.

The concept plans presented to the council in July have been refined following two workshops involving the architects, Lardelli Arts and staff.

Main change to the concept since it was last presented is that the location of the stained glass window has been finalised.

It was agreed the best location would be above the north-facing entrance to the courtyard facing Treble Court. The project advisory group and staff agreed this was aesthetically the best and most practical location for the window.

It will be placed at mezzanine height so there is an uninterrupted view of it from that level and there will be quiet spaces set up for people to contemplate it.

The original artist will be asked to finish off pieces of it as it currently has gaps for a couple of doors.

The layout of the staff workplace has been improved, and cultural and artwork features have been added to the Bright Street entrance and facade.