Charred Wood Symbolic in Tūhoe’s Latest Living Building Project
Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana is a Ngai Tūhoe and the Department of Conservation project, to build a Visitor’s Centre at Lake Waikaremoana using the principles of the Living Building and Community Challenge (a ground-breaking approach to sustainability).
This is not the first time Tūhoe have taken on a Living Building Challenge. Their award-winning Te Kura Whare was the first Living Building in New Zealand and the Iwi are now nearing completion of their second Living Building project, which also uses Abodo’s FSC-certified, sustainably harvested eco-timbers.
The Vistor’s Centre will feature charred Vulcan Cladding on the façade, with two large panels at either end of the building.
The charred timber panels are symbolic of an important event in the tribe’s history, when the Crown employed its scorched earth policy against Tūhoe in 1867. The panels were created onsite by Iwi and Abodo staff members, using a traditional Japanese method of preserving wood (‘Shou Sugi Ban’) by burning the surface of the timber to varying degrees of char.
Where feasible, the building also uses locally sourced materials and labour. Importantly for Ngai Tūhoe, where the meaning behind the wood also plays its part, the wood fibre used for the project is locally sourced by Abodo from FSC-certified forests in the Kaingaroa region, most of which are on or close to Ngai Tūhoe land.
The Visitor’s Centre includes ticketing (for the great walk), café and kitchen, administration, retail and a wānanga space. The building is reflective of the lake and the surrounding geomorphology, designed by the talented architects at Tennent Brown.
We’re proud to work with Tūhoe on their second Living Building challenge, supplying Abodo sustainably harvested, eco-timber joinery and cladding.
The Visitor’s Centre opened on 23 December 2016.