waitomo glowworm caves visitor centre
site waitomo north island new zealand
axo path caves recreation architecture
axo lower path caves waitomo
elevation model waitomo concept
cave shell sketch aw
section structure waitomo caves
canopy model radial geometric
toroidal geometry canopy gridshell
nodes canopy setout architecture workshop
etfe pillow waitomo caves drawing
lvl waitomo bending test aw
lvl experiment architecture workshop
prototype structure timber architecture workshop
timber design awards waitomo construction
canopy erection waitomo aw
waitomo landscape construction timber
tourism nz architecture workshop
waitomo forest new zealand architecture
timber detail construction nzia award
timber work detail etfe drawing
etfe pillows timber wood design
recreation visitor centre north island
interior lighting waitomo architecture
timber etfe canopy pou
eel net reference grid structure
opening visitor centre recreation
acenz gold award architecture workshop
waitomo night road frontage
waitomo caves centre architecture workshop
waitomo glowworm caves visitor centre
site waitomo north island new zealand
axo path caves recreation architecture
axo lower path caves waitomo
elevation model waitomo concept
cave shell sketch aw
section structure waitomo caves
canopy model radial geometric
toroidal geometry canopy gridshell
nodes canopy setout architecture workshop
etfe pillow waitomo caves drawing
lvl waitomo bending test aw
lvl experiment architecture workshop
prototype structure timber architecture workshop
timber design awards waitomo construction
canopy erection waitomo aw
waitomo landscape construction timber
tourism nz architecture workshop
waitomo forest new zealand architecture
timber detail construction nzia award
timber work detail etfe drawing
etfe pillows timber wood design
recreation visitor centre north island
interior lighting waitomo architecture
timber etfe canopy pou
eel net reference grid structure
opening visitor centre recreation
acenz gold award architecture workshop
waitomo night road frontage
waitomo caves centre architecture workshop

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves Visitors Centre | Waitomo | 2008

Every year, half a million tourists visit Waitomo Caves: one of the main attractions of the New Zealand tourism industry. The limestone caves are operated in partnership with local iwi and private tourism company THL; a bi-cultural joint venture that resulted from the first Waitangi Treaty settlements in Aotearoa. This new visitor’s centre - replacing the fire-destroyed remains of the previous one - now offers dining for 240 people, as well as booking, retail and exhibition amenities arranged along the circulation paths to and from the caves. A structurally innovative laminated veneer lumber (LVL) grid shell forms a lightweight canopy over the paths, with the amenities placed in between. The grid structure evokes a hinaki or eel net and is set out by the curve of the Waitomo stream that also flows through the caves. Clad with clear ETFE inflated pillows, the visitors can enjoy the vault of the sky as a counterpoint to the glowworm caves beneath. 

Imaginatively conceived and masterfully executed, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre confidently demonstrates that, in New Zealand, a building in a landscape can be an attraction in its own right...The commercial programme has been accommodated in a transcendent structure, poetic in its form and protean in its readings.  An inspired design has been translated into an inspirational building.  

NZIA Architecture Medal Jury Citation (2011)

Awards

World Architecture Festival Awards, Barcelona, 2011 Shortlisted

NZIA Architecture Medal, 2011

ACENZ Gold Award of Excellence, 2011

Lightweight Structures Association of Australasia, High Commendation, 2011

Association of Consulting Engineers Gold Award of Excellence, 2011

Waikato / Bay of Plenty Local NZIA Awards, 2010

Australia and New Zealand Timber Design Awards, 2010

NZ Wood Timber Design Award, 2010

 

Publications

Burry, M. & Burry, J. (2016). Prototyping for Architects: with more than 700 illustrations. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. pp. 201-203

Chilton, J., & Tang, G. (2017).  Waitomo Caves Visitors Centre. Timber gridshells: architecture, structure and craft. London: Routledge. pp. 112-126.

52 new landscapes of wooden architecture. (2014). a+u. pp. 14-25.

Catherall, S. (2011, May). Reaching for the skies. Dominion Post: your weekend. Retrieved from here

Waitomo a glow glow. (2011). Qantas the Australian way.

Best of the best: Urbis best architect 2011. (2011). Design Annual. (65). p.66

Waitomo. (2010, December). Sunday Star Times.

Design a glowing success. (2010, November). The Dominion Post.

Best Designs of 2010. (2010, December). Urbis. (59). p. 73.

 

EXHIBITIONS

Waitomo Visitors Centre, Last Loneliest Loveliest, Venice Biennale exhibition, The NZ Pavilion, 2014

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre, UIA, 24th World Congress of Architecture, Tokyo, 2011

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