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Te Manawa community facility wins architecture award

Published: 10 August 2020

Te Manawa Westgate Library and Multi-Purpose Facility has been named as a winner in the public architecture category at this year’s Auckland Architecture Awards.

“This is a real delight for everyone who was involved in the project,” says John Schermbrucker, Manager of Portfolio Delivery for Auckland Council’s Community Facilities.

“We were tasked with providing a space that the local community would be proud of and, together with award-winning artist Robin Rawstone and project architects Warren and Maloney, we are delighted with the award.”

Te Manawa (the heart) is a multi-purpose building that the awards’ jury described as a “confident, contemporary public building” that “has generous spatial qualities, makes good use of natural light, deploys a sophisticated material palette, and communicates its purpose through a ‘stacked book’ effect articulated on the façade.”

Henderson-Massey Local Board Chair Chris Carter says the win is significant for the rapidly growing north-west.

“Having an award-winning and beautiful community facility at the heart of Westgate is such a delight. It is a building that is more than functional. It draws you in, encourages you to stay longer than you planned and will bring joy to generations of West Aucklanders to come.”

Former local board chair and now Waitākere Ward Councillor Shane Henderson agrees.

“Te Manawa is an incredible space. It’s only been opened for just over a year and it is quickly becoming a jewel for the North-west. Locals are really enjoying it and the architecture award win will be a real source of pride for the community.”

In awarding the prize the jury noted, “in a challenging local authority environment that demands value for money, and within a physical environment that is largely retail, the building incorporates moments of intrigue and delight”.

One of those delights is the children’s space, Te Whare Tapere, created by Robin Rawstone and inspired by the concept of a pool in the middle of a forest glade. The space was designed to encourage play and includes a stage for story-telling and performances, nooks to curl up in and moveable book bins to change the area’s shape and size.

The first of its kind in Auckland, Te Manawa is not just a library but also a community hub and has been built with the future in mind to provide West Aucklanders with space and resources to explore, connect and grow for generations.

As well as space for community services, Te Manawa also includes a creative hub and recording studios, a Citizens Advice Bureau, and spaces for the community to hire.

“The north-west is a rapidly transforming area in the Tāmaki-Makaurau region and we needed to provide a facility that would meet the needs of the community for years to come. Te Manawa is at the heart of that transformation and it will serve the community well for a long time,” said John Schermbrucker.

The facility was gifted the name Te Manawa by Matua Heta Tobin of Ngāti Whātua Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara, who also provided names for many of the rooms and hubs in the centre as well as the name Te Pūmanawa (the beating heart) for the wider Westgate Development.

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