A core element of this project was the linking of the three historic buildings to provide a single integrated conference and Theatre venue. Restoring and enhancing the original historical features was also of paramount importance. Our modern architectural approach, using zinc cladding and extensive glazing, allowed us to provide one single exterior of the building with a clear definition between the existing historic fabrics and the new building elements. core
Due to the age of the buildings, an important part of the project was to upgrade the facility to ensure it meets building standards ensuring safe and resilience in the future. The WSP team also had to consider sub-basement excavations in the Town Hall in order to add mechanical ventilation ducts whilst preserving the historic World War II blast shelters.
Our design of the Dunedin Centre Foyer and Theatre spaces focused on dramatic contrast. Full height glass doors and a new glazed canopy create a welcoming entry to the building where visitors first experience a cosy and more intimate foyer before being led into a larger "white space" of the Theatre. A neutral colour palette throughout the entire complex allows the refurbished foyer, conferencing and auditorium spaces to stand out with the use of colour in the carpet tiles and rich dark timber paneling provides warmth and texture.
Our unique approach using a new colour scheme to lighten and enrich the space has allowed the main Town Hall auditorium to undergo extensive work yet appear virtually untouched. Colour-changing lights create a visual connection to the historic elements in and on the building enhancing user experiences. Overall the philosophy has been to respect the existing architecture and only augment and embellish the features of the buildings.