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Timber Design Awards

The Edge ASB Theatre Refurbishment

The Aotea Centre was officially opened in 1990 as NZ’s largest premier theatre.  By 2007 the theatre’s interior was aesthetically outdated and was in need of a major refurbishment to bring it up to modern standards.

Our design approach was to provide a superb, world-class patron experience in a space that can return the theatre to a first choice venue for large scale productions. We chose timber for all interior surfaces and some critical structural work for a number of reasons:

Adaptability /Acoustics: We were able to get the material density and thus the reflectivity we needed to meet the acoustic requirements to return the theatre to a 100% natural acoustic space for walls, floors and ceilings. And on the other hand in other key areas we were able to perforate the same wall material to get the absorption we needed to balance the reflectivity.

Aesthetics: We liked the grain and colour potential of the Birch timber ply and Tasmanian Oak solid timber parquet for our design delivery. The clear finishes on the wall panels, oiled finishes on the floors and fire rated wash finishes on the ceiling panels worked well with the new seat red fabric colour pallet.

Buildability & program: The design of a secret jointed timber ply wall and ceiling panel system meant off site modular construction, leading to ease-off on site work on multiple fronts which minimised on-site time, and allowed easy continuity between trades. These material characteristics, combined with innovative design and detailing, allowed the construction teams to deliver both stages to the program

Stability, strength & durability: All the timber types we selected or designed – LVL, engineering grade ply sheet, Ply veneer panelling, parquet flooring and in fill timber solids gave us the stability, strength and durability we needed for materials in an air conditioned space with high occupancy loads. The LVL bleacher framing system we developed was the only solution we considered capable of meeting all the requirements for the bleacher construction. The oiled parquet flooring is traditional, highly durable and decorative.

Cost: Due to timber exceeding all the other aspects listed above the new timber finishes also met the cost parameters in a tendered procurement delivery with low waste on site.

Photos by Michael Bradley / Silvana Dunatov