In the Neighbourhood- Recent Designs for Community Spaces

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Media Release: August, 2005. 

A new exhibition at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery will bring attention to three major architectural projects which have recently taken place, or are currently underway, in the Wellington region.

The Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, devoted to the work of Wellington artists, spans a wide range of creative practices, from painting to design to jewellery-making. This new exhibition at the Gallery – In the Neighbourhood – follows in the footsteps of the 2002 architecture exhibition Dreamhouse, which presented architects’ visions for a dream dwelling.

In the Neighbourhood moves from dreams to reality, by looking at new community spaces around Wellington and profiling three recent architectural projects in which utopian ideas for public spaces are matched to rigorous design principles, creating remarkable new urban landmarks.

The three projects are:

· The enhancement of Oriental Bay, carried out over 2001-04, which involved an overall design vision for the whole Oriental Bay area. Initiated by the Wellington City Council, the project was a collaboration between architectural firm Architecture Workshop, landscape architects and urban designers Isthmus Group and environmental and engineering consultants Tonkin and Taylor. The improvements to the area ranged from building a submerged reef to building a new amenities block. The developments have been described by architecture commentator Tommy Honey as ‘excellent improvements to one of Wellington’s greatest assets.’

· The new building for the inner-city church St Joseph’s Hato Hohepa. Architectural firm Studio of Pacific Architecture were challenged to create a building that not only met the liturgical requirements of the Catholic Church, but that would also be a multi-purpose space that could be used as a community facility for meetings, functions and as a civil defence centre.

· The development of a new cultural centre for Waiwhetu marae in Lower Hutt (construction to be completed by mid-2005). Commissioned by Te Ati Awa, Athfield Architects Ltd have designed a new cultural centre and waka house. Maori concepts drive the design of this new complex, which will be a focal point for the iwi and the wider community.

In the Neighbourhood is part of the celebrations for the Year of the Built Environment. The exhibition is also scheduled to coincide with the ‘Urbanism Down Under’ conference on urban design (18-20 August 2005).

Bus tour of the three In the Neighbourhood architectural projects

Sunday 21 August, 1:30pm