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Centre captures Sumner’s character

Kim Stewart Nov 11
Centre captures Sumner’s character
The centre’s interior features artworks which combine traditional carving and machined fabrication, referencing Sumner’s history and location.

Four-and-a-half years after the demolition of Sumner’s earthquake-damaged library, the doors have opened on a new architecturally designed building called Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre.

Housing Sumner’s library, community centre and museum, the much-anticipated two-storey building on the corner of Wakefield Ave and Nayland St was officially opened by Christchurch Mayor Lianne Daziel in August.

Designed by Athfield Architects and built by Armitage Williams Construction, the building has a 1300sqm floor area and features colours and materials that evoke Sumner’s cliffs and coast.

To reflect the colour of local volcanic stone, red oxide was used in pre-cast concrete panels.

This red oxide also references the old red brick Sumner Borough Council Building, while larch board and batten materials call to mind Sumner’s weathered coastal environment.

Past and present are respectfully joined in the new $10 million centre, with historic touches including the original 1907 foundation stone (paired with the new 2017 stone); the RSA memorial roll and cast iron cupola light on the outside of the building; and several recycled timber features, including the original museum doors now in use at the entry to the community hub on the ground floor.

For leading Christchurch building company Armitage Williams Construction, putting together this special community-based centre has been hugely rewarding.

“We were absolutely stoked to be chosen as the building contractor and we’re immensely proud of our team and what they have achieved,” says project manager Craig Greene.

“I was at a meeting in the centre recently and the librarians’ team were saying they couldn’t believe just how many people have been through the doors. Everyone thinks the building is fantastic; it’s so lovely, light and airy. For us, as the main contractor, it’s wonderful to hear that positive feedback.”

Given the centre’s location on the tight 1000sqm corner site in the vibrant heart of Sumner, construction work inevitably impinged on the community to a degree.

“The local medical centre, pharmacy staff and surrounding business operators – and their customers – had to be very patie nt and we’d really like to thank them for that.”

Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre sits on sturdy raft foundations, built to withstand earthquake activity.

The building itself has a robust steel and precast concrete panel structure. Craig notes the council’s designer Fayne Robinson created the centre’s interior design.

Its many artworks skilfully combine traditional carving and machined fabrication, referencing Sumner’s history and location.

“The artworks and carvings really give this building a strong cultural presence – it’s fantastic. It is also such a warm and inviting place to explore.”

“It was a real team effort … As the main contractor, we’re extremely happy to have got it across the line and brought it in on budget – the end result speaks for itself.”