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Hopuhopu Tribal Centre, Waikato District, New Zealand

Monday 31 Oct 2011

Drawing from the past, building for the future

Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 4

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09/06/12 Marsha, Hamilton
1. As a "primary destination for Maori events..." and "...a place to celebrate the cultural values and proud heritage of Waikato Tainui people," this design fails miserably. Remove the pou and this plan could be any contemporary urban site anywhere in the world. Just imagine if the pou weren't there? How would you know this was a destination with a "really strong sense of [Tainui] place"?

2. The "...unique and wonderful cultural underlay of customs and meaning..." is so far buried by the Grid System, they end up being contextual rather than of primary focus. When viewing the http://vimeo.com/31823152 keep in mind that this design needs to give a sense of "connectedness to both the immediate and surrounding context." Does it?

3. "The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee..." Josef Muller Brockman. The grid has been used in many forms of production from the time of the Egyptians. It's most prolific use began with the industrial revolution. British surveyors used the grid to divide, cut up and dislocate Maori land from Maori. Unfortunately, the reliance on the Grid System in this design draws attention to this fact.

4. The architects suggest their design "gives this development a really strong sense of place and connectedness to both the immediate and surrounding context" but the minimalist/modernist architecture is actually in sharp contrast to the surrounding landscape and cultural references. As such it draws attention to the architecture and fails to enhance a "sense of place". The strong sense of place already inherent in the landscape is the form of the surrounding landscape and its ancestral mana. These elements are not reflected in the grid, or in general or specific building designs. In fact, they are paid cursory attention in relation to the grid.

5. Question: What elements of the river, Mt Taupiri, the Hakarimata Ranges, and Waikato Tainui, who have fought long and hard for their ancestral lands and resources, are reflected or incorporated into these building designs and site plans? How do these four important elements and forms inform the design? Where in this design can we see the puutake?

6. "Drawing from the past, building for the future." At every turn and bend of the river, Maori should take the opportunity to advance their indigenous culture in all that they do, particularly in projects that will represent them now and to future generations. This design, unfortunately, does and will not.
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05/01/12 Hauauru, Dunedin
This project appears to be an awkward attempt to integrate Tainui identity into modern urban design. The orientation of the central spine of the master plan towards Taupiri is a nice feature, along with the accommodation of central cultural activities, yet the architecture seems to be replicated on American appeals with its quadrilateral design and is thus, in my opinion, unoriginal and culturally lacking.

Further, the inclusion of the pou seems token as they're not really complimentary of the proposed landscape, or rather the proposed landscape is not appropriate to the erection of such pou. Ultimately, the design embodies the artist's attempt to illustrate Tainui's vision to be in-line with other future-orientated corporations, but in so doing fails somewhat to deliver something original and timeless that will make other future-orientated corporations aspire to be in-line with Tainui. This design is not poor, but it is definitely lacking cultural innovation.
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29/12/11 Steph skjoldebrand, Rangiora
This project has a wonderful sense of culture in a modern setting. To have a blank canvas to fulfill the concept is wonderful. The architecture is full of promise and and futuristic vision for the next century. Space, light and simple forms compliment the environment of water and mountains.
11/11/11 edward, auckland
check out the animation of this project: http://vimeo.com/31823152

Award Entry

HMA designs new tribal centre for the Waikato Tainui 

In line with the aspirations and mandate of the Waikato Tainui’s, 2050 strategic vision for this site, the proposed master plan and associated buildings seek to establish Hopuhopu (the site) as the administrative / commercial, social, recreational and tribal knowledge hub for Waikato Tainui (approx. 60,000 people). This 137 hectare site is bounded on the north and west by the Waikato River and is flanked by the Hakarimata Ranges to the west. To the north of the site lies Mt. Taupiri, a culturally significant mountain to the people of Tainui and is home to the tribe's sacred burial ground.

Proposed functions as part of the brief include: Tribal Parliament /Administration and Media Centre; Sports and Leisure Centre; River Centre and Gallery; Waka Marina complete with stage and River Terrace for events and river based festivals, as well as a Carving School / Workshop and Café.

It is envisaged that Hopuhopu will become a primary destination for Maori events, tourism, business events and development – a place to celebrate the cultural values and proud heritage of Waikato Tainui people. The bespoke nature of some of the proposed functions coupled with a unique and wonderful cultural underlay of customs and meaning helps to give this development a really strong sense of place and connectedness to both the immediate and surrounding context.

The orientation of the central spine of the master plan sets up a clear axial alignment with Mt Taupiri as the focal point, and intentionally delineates the point of intersection with the river as place of importance. The Pou (columns) along the central spine of the park will be carved to depict the strong connection Waikato Tainui have to the Kingitanga Movement. It is considered of upmost importance that the proposed development conceptually and symbolically references the past but builds with many future generations in mind.

Key Facts

Status Concept design
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
HMA - Hamish Monk Architecture

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