Commercial Architectural Excellence
The new visitor centre at ZEALANDIA was conceived of as a high tech bivouac leaning back against the bush clad hill at the entry to the sanctuary.
It’s primary role was to house the purpose designed exhibition that tells the story of the destruction and reconstruction – as showcased in the sanctuary – of natural habitat in New Zealand. It also provides ticketing, retail and café amenities.
The small footprint of useable land available necessitated a three storey structure to meet the spatial needs. As this threatened to overwhelm the diminutive but historically important existing boat shed and valve tower that it overlooked, in alignment with the concept, the building leans back, deferentially, against the hill. It’s western face is fully glazed so that visitors are constantly orientated to the boatshed and valve tower as they journey through the building. This positions these elements as the proper symbols of the sanctuary.