Architecture Workshop were engaged to come up with a concept design to amalgamate the aging and dispersed community facilities (Town Hall, Plunket, i-Site, Tourism office and Library) around a new Civic Centre for the Bulls township. The Rangitikei District Council were keen to create a hub for the 1600 local residents as well as visitors to the area. Extensive community consultation by David Engwicht of Creative Communities, the design team and the RDC client group, recognised the increased chance of success if the new Town Square was a diversified mixed-use development, involving public and private investment.
We noticed the quirky back laneways off the noisy State Highway main street (4 million vehicles per annum) and incorporated these with the new town square into an extended pedestrian network to repair connections with the new ‘big box retail development’ on the south of the town. This more intimate pedestrian network takes in the topography of the original riverbank with its overview of Iwi settlement and will hopefully encourage visitors to stop for a break and discover the local history.
The grassy commons of the new public space slope towards the community hall forming a subtle amphitheatre for indoor and outdoor performances. AW concentrated the public community hall/library, with the private business centre, retail and café activities so all the ground floor activities could spill out into the town square.
The hybrid library/information centre is a new type of multi-use community space; ‘a living room for the town’. It combines a series of stepped indoor terraces creating different areas for reading, researching and reflection in a large light-filled atrium facing into the new square. The stepped structure of the building efficiently accommodates a 290 seat community hall. With further design input, it is expected the community hall can be configured in a number of flexible ‘event modes’. The library terraces may also be pressed into service in combination with the hall and the town square so that Bulls will be able to host larger and more dramatic events in the future.Back to news