The principal concept for the design was based around its internal function as a multi-use sports and recreation space with the internal heights determined by the guidance from various sports advisory bodies.
The brief called for an arena the size of two netball courts with associated changing and administration spaces. Provision for future extension to four courts and the aquatic centre had to be taken into account. This drove a linear modular approach allowing the facility to be extended in either direction.
The complex sits at the heart of a new mixed-use subdivision, Three Parks. To the north will feature a new retail area and to the south a new school. A multi-use artificial turf and pavilion is currently still under construction to the west of the main building.
An internal clear height of 9.0m to the underside of the structure was the key driver for the form, with the overall height of the structure around 13.0m.
One of the challenges presented was the sympathetic placement of a building of this size in a visually sensitive landscape. In order to reduce the bulk of the structure, the administrative facilities were organised into a lower timber clad bar which slides in front of the main arena.
The scale of these spaces act in a way to create a spatial transition to the large volume of the main space. The main hall itself was clad in an insulated metal panel cladding system with a vertical emphasis on the front façade. A random effect of panels in different colours and gloss levels help to blend the structure into the landscape beyond.
The $13.9m Wanaka Recreation Centre was opened to the public in July 2016.
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