23 Aug 2023
In 2020, Studio Pacific Architecture and Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika co-design partners Tihei were commissioned to investigate a refurbishment of the public and staff areas in Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa National Library of New Zealand. The project, Heke Puna Library, was in response to the construction of the new Archives building on the neighbouring site, Heke Rua Archives.
The Heke Puna Library project is the construction of an enabling structure, which will support the Heke Rua Archives project (designed by Warren & Mahoney) and the construction of a two-level bridge to join the National Library of New Zealand and the new Archives building together physically. This base-isolated link bridge will provide public access between buildings on the ground floor and staff access on the first floor of the National Library.
The hood of the enabling structure will accommodate the technically demanding 1.8-metre movement between the Library and Archives buildings and it introduces the taupoki and the tāniko, the first of a number of design narratives that Tihei developed to give visibility to mana whenua by revealing the history of the Pipitea locality.
Mana whenua design lead Rangi Kipa explains that the introduction of this thematic approach allows Taranaki Whānui to reference a story specific to this site. “We are referring to Ruhia Porutu, a high-ranking chieftainess of the mid-1800s, and the laying of her kaitaka cloak as a local example of a wider cultural practice of expressing one’s mana or authority by laying a cloak to demonstrate her protection symbolically over items or peoples of concern,” says Kipa.
“The taupoki covers the elevations of the enabling structure and clads the upper level of the link bridge,” explains Studio Pacific architect Marc Woodbury and is designed to represent the kaupapa of the kaitaka and is intended to read as draping over the enabling structure. Woodbury says this narrative has been physically co-opted to a larger gesture by symbolically covering the whenua, platforming and enveloping all that is within the site’s boundaries.
Heke Rua Archives refers to the new Archives building project and two-level link bridge and Heke Puna Library refers to the enabling structure, which will support the link bridge. These projects together form part of the Heritage Campus.
The word ‘rua’ references a storage area or repository and relates to the Māori name for Archives New Zealand, Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga, the memory of government. The word ‘puna’ means ‘wellspring or source’ and relates to the Māori name for the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa – a wellspring and a source of knowledge.
“The Heritage Campus is being delivered by Te Ara Tahi, which is a programme of work that includes the upgrade and construction of modern, purpose-built facilities designed to ensure New Zealand’s recorded heritage is preserved and protected across Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga Archives New Zealand (Archives), Te Puna Mātaurangao Aotearoa National Library of New Zealand (National Library) and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (Ngā Taonga),” explains Rob Stevens, Director Tāhuhu.
The new link bridge enabling structure and Archives building are currently expected to be completed in late-2024 and mid-2025 respectively, with the new building scheduled to open in 2026.
Republished from ArchitectureNow.