“Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins”. As said Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the urbane, cigar smoking, patrician German who was once one of the most influential architects in America.
When Frederick Charles Daniell submitted his competitive plans for the Martinborough Town Hall*, carefully drawn with ink and water colour on cream paper in 1912, he was very aware of the visual solidity of brick structures. The bricks made in Silverstream, in relatively close proximity, could easily be supplied to Martinborough – the perfect building material.
There was at that stage no thought of the earthquake risk. The Waihinga Centre project is of course bringing the building up to current earthquake strengthening requirements.
As part of the demolition process, the construction team pulled the lining off the wall, between the supper room and the main auditorium, exposing the inner brick wall 300 mls thick, carefully built and robust.
“It was just as solid as we had expected,” said Dave Borman, the project manager, “There was not a brick out of place even after a hundred years, but more than that, we immediately realized just how stunning it would be if it were left as a significant feature wall.”
So this wall will be left intact. It will be water blasted and then finished with a protective coating for posterity, a strong reminder of the historical and cultural heritage of this building.
It was also no surprise to find the original piles were kerosene tins filled with concrete as with other buildings of this vintage. “Waste not Want not!!! “. Past generations were consummate savers. The ethic of “Use, Recycle and ReUse” was a priority requirement, and put to good practice. As for the joists, only the Borer were the definite winners here. However, imitating the ethics of that previous generation, any flooring that is in good condition will be saved for future reuse.
Over the next few weeks as the demolition debris is removed, preparation for the piles for the existing building will begin. Demolition of the back stage area is complete, and fencing is already up in preparation for the new building extensions.
While this is underway some of the playground will be out of commission. Those items of playground equipment, which do not meet modern health and safety standards, have already been taken away and in discussion with the Community Board the pergola will be transferred to another site.
Quote of the Day: Oscar Wilde
“I like talking to a brick wall. It is the only thing that doesn’t contradict me”
* Although Frederick C Daniell’s architectural plan was accepted, it was modified before construction began by Varnham and Rose, with further drawings being undertaken by Natusch and Sons.
If you would like to contribute:
• You can either donate directly to the Waihinga Charitable Trust bank account 02 0680 0056066
• or call Victoria Read on 06 306 8570 or Max Stevens on 06 306 9095.
• Alternatively, you can contribute through GiveaLittle.co.nz/cause/waihingacentre.nz
• All stories of Town Hall functions, festivities and any photographic memorabilia will be gratefully accepted by Lisa Cornelissen either via firstname.lastname@example.org or drop off documents for scanning at the Martinborough TOP 10 Holiday Park Reception (10 Dublin Street West)
Supporter Profile – Tom and Di Bunny
Tom and Di Bunny have been living in the Martinborough area for 17 years now, after retiring from their farm Te Roto near Masterton.
Originally they didn’t think the old Town Hall, with its badly dated amenities, was worth saving but once they saw the new plans they were converts.
It was last year’s Contemporary Art Auction, a fundraiser for the new Waihinga Centre, that really enthused them to become active supporters of the project.
“We were just so impressed with the energy and commitment of the young people organising the event, and wanted to make a contribution too. We see the centre as important for the future of the town and for the next generation who will live here.”
They like that it will bring more activity to a quiet part of The Square and that by providing an improved event venue it will help keep money in Martinborough and attract more visitors and rural people into the town.