The centre provides a 60-seat restaurant, education facilities and amenities for the many local and international visitors who visit Te Mata Peak.
Architecture Workshop (AW) proposed a circle form that is both ‘a theatre of far looking’ to take in the panorama and ‘a theatre of close looking’ to examine the rich Māori and Pākehā history of the peak.
The new visitor centre leaves a void in the middle. The space is designed to be big enough for a ‘pōwhiri’ (Māori welcoming ceremony) or hired for an event, or simply to be left open to the uninterrupted flow of landscape through the space. New large-scale trees inside the circle help to integrate the building within the larger landscape.
The excavated path and planting, from the bus and carpark, guides the visitor under the circular platform where the view is fully revealed from inside the circle. The visitor can then move around the center to take in the full panorama and enjoy the views from the perimeter while seated in the cafe (both inside and outside). An external ramp and staircase provide circulation between the lower and upper levels and the education centre, and can be used in a variety of ways, much like an art gallery where different users have a choice in curating their own pathway.