Tree trunks and rusty farm buildings are among inspirations for the new Balclutha Community Hub.
Architect Kieran Cooper said for him the two main influences for the hub’s design, which was released last week, were the many old rusted forms found on farms in rural Clutha, and the Catlins rainforests.
‘‘The majestic tree canopies in the Catlins forest were a major inspiration,’’ he said.
‘‘Just like them, the large roof of the community hub will reach out and protect and shelter the people of Clutha as they congregate for the many diverse community functions the new facility will host.’’
Mirroring design elements used in the 2015 Balclutha main street upgrade by architects at Baxter Design, Mr Cooper said the large supports in the front of the new two-storey hub would symbolise tree-trunks in the Catlins coastal area.
The colour palette was drawn both from the trees and the rustic colours of the old buildings in rural Clutha.
‘‘There was no shortage of inspiration and it was a pleasure to design,’’ Mr Cooper said. The Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust brought together the major contractors, designers and architects right at the start of the project, to help provide a cohesive vision.
Spaceworks interior designer Penny Angell said it was unusual to bring contributors together in this way, setting them the task of creating a workable plan — but it was also effective.
‘‘This project has been fantastic, often we get brought in after the project design has been finalised and then we have to try and make it all work.
‘‘But with this project it was a pleasure being brought in right at the start with the main contractors Calder Stewart, and Kieran,’’ she said.
‘‘Everyone helped each other; if we needed a column moved then it happened, and that made it so much easier.’’
The 3300sq mfacility will have a full business hub, including co-working spaces and offices.
The i-Site visitor centre will be an anchor tenant, and four of five additional spaces have already been allocated.
The new auditorium will seat 478 people in fixed seating or ‘‘upwards of 600’’ using the floor and portable seating.
Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan described it as an ‘‘exciting’’ project, and said he was looking forward to a positive year of growth in the district.
‘‘2021 was always going to be a delivery year for us.
‘‘The great work the volunteers running the hub trust have done means that on January 25 we will be able to hand over the site to Calder Stewart, and then 18 months later we will have a wonderful new building.
‘‘That and the new destination toilets, the cycle trail and all the work in Milton and around the district, means there is so much to be positive about in Clutha right now.’’