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Aratoi – Wairarapa Arts and History Centre

This modest yet extremely functional building utilises wood as both a structural and decorative element.

Initially it was envisioned that the building would have steel for its structural framework, however the architects ambitious approach to use laminated veneer lumber (LVL), a relatively new product in New Zealand at that time, allowed the building to be completed in a cost effective manner. The potential for LVL to reduce waste and utilise smaller plantation trees in a manufactured product displays some of the many sustainable qualities that wood has. From the street, Australian plantation blue gum covers the building in the form of a rain-screen. Behind the screen, wood battens create a cavity between the panels and the waterproofed plywood, effectively eliminating any leakage. The rain-screen will gradually weather over time mellowing the colour and texture of the wood.

The community rallied around the project providing both financial support and provision of building materials.The LVL was supplied by a local manufacturer and Aurecon Group Engineers were able to specifically design all of the 12m long rafters, posts, roof and shear wall bracing with the LVL. Being a new material, they had to find a new set of design strength parameters which had to be evaluated and incorporated into the analysis of LVL usage.

Awards:
NZIA local and colour awards 2001
NZIA New Zealand award 2002
Origin Timber Design Award for Aesthetic Excellence 2002