New library and civic centre recognised at property awards

Published: 17 June 2024

The sustainability and energy-saving features of Ashburton’s new library and civic building, Te Whare Whakatere, have been recognised at national industry awards run by the Property Council New Zealand.

Te Whare Whakatere was awarded excellence in the Sustainable Building Property Award, and merit in the Civic, Health and Arts Property Awards.

The awards are considered the best of the best, recognising projects that provide outstanding return for their owners and the wider community.

Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown said he was delighted Te Whare Whakatere had been recognised.

“We know that the community really enjoys using this building and people have visited in their thousands since it opened in January. We’ve received many compliments from users, and now from the construction industry.”

Te Whare Whakatere’s use of mass timber and artesian bore heating and cooling systems are amongst its key green features.

Mayor Brown said the community had asked for a sustainable building when Council consulted on the project back in 2019.

“A good number of the submitters who spoke to us asked that the building be energy efficient, and have features that would save electricity and be a role model for other commercial buildings in the town. Council listened and chose a design that used a lot of wood, which is not only a sustainable product, but also holds strong in an earthquake.

“The way we heat and cool the building, through two bores, was also acknowledged. Water is pumped up at a constant temperature, and heat rejected or extracted; this system is about 30 per cent more efficient than a comparable air-source system.”

Architects called on community and stakeholder feedback when they designed the building, using elements that reflected the district’s agricultural industry and unique geology, like braided rivers.

Mayor Brown said Te Whare Whakatere recently hosted mayors from Kaikoura to Waimate for two days of Canterbury Mayoral Forum meetings.

“They were also impressed with the way we have incorporated heritage and cultural elements into a modern building, and made special mention of including Pioneer Hall into the children’s library.

“It’s fantastic to see all the flexible meeting spaces being used by Council and the community. It is a building that will serve us well into the future.”

Share this article

More News

View all news