Franklin: The Centre

Franklin ‘The Centre’ takes pride of place in Pukekohe as a regional centre of knowledge, information, arts and culture.

The building a culmination of The Franklin Council’s vision with funding from New Zealand Steel and other Franklin Corporate sponsors was opened on the 30th June this year. In a very real way the resources of the Franklin region have been used to build ‘The Centre.’ From Steel produced from the black West Coast sands - the building showcases Steel building products manufactured locally by New Zealand Steel and their customers. The support for Franklin ‘The Centre’ is an extension of community participation, The Centre employees, their families and locals who will benefit from this multi-use facility.

Recently the building was awarded the NZIA Regional award for 2007’ Buildings of Community & Cultural Significance’ In early 2005, the Franklin District Council organised an architectural competition between several practices for the design of a new library and arts facility for their rapidly growing district. The new facility was to occupy a disused site, previously a bowling green, alongside the impressive war memorial Town Hall on Massey Avenue. ASC Architects were selected to progress their design, which is now built and complete. The form of the building came from their intentions to: n Express the dual uses occupying the building, being the central library for Franklin District of around 1400 square metres on one level, and the Arts Centre of similar size on two levels. The main approach axis bisects the building from front to back, with the Library to the east and the Arts Centre to the west. n Create a building sympathetic to the strongly massive and rectilinear Town Hall. The orthogonal forms of the new building reflect its neighbour, but in a more light and open language than the earlier building. The height of the upper roof matches that of the Town Hall, to make clear the civic importance of the Library and Arts Centre. n To improve the urban qualities of the neighbourhood. Massey Avenue is not the main street of Pukekohe; rather it is busy bypass one block removed from the main street, with heavy traffic. Most buildings along the street, apart from the Town Hall, are not substantial, and ASC sought to create a civic oasis as the first step of a rejuvenation of the area. The two main building elements embrace a new civic space, Franklin Court, which is covered and largely enclosed, useful for community activities in all weather. This space opens out toward the Town Hall, and is further enclosed by the smaller building element of the café and information centre. The building uses natural light and ventilation. The Library saw-tooth roof admits south light and exhausts air through operable louvres. Temperature and humidity control are provided mechanically only when needed, and then in conjunction with the natural systems. The Arts Centre is naturally ventilated except for the gallery, which is climate controlled to enable museum-quality exhibitions to be held there. Steel is a predominant feature of the building, both structurally and for exterior and interior finishes; more details provided in the chapter below. NZ Steel is the biggest local industry and was a major sponsor of the facility. To soften the interior spaces, plywood and matching battens have been used, keeping the overall materials palette very simple. A wide range of steel products have been used; following are some of the main feature applications. n Predominantly structural steel & Steltech pre engineered beams in the building, with Hi-bond, concrete composite upper floor slabs and some precast concrete panels. The primary structural steel elements are left exposed inside the building; steel columns, beams, trusses and cross bracing are put on display. Secondary steel structure is concealed within the lightweight-steel framed walls. n Euroline standing seam wall cladding to the Library exterior of Franklin: The Centre, is part of the custom made look and an architectural feature. It is this hand made aspect of the product that sets it apart from other ribbed metal claddings, where ribs are close enough together to keep the steel flat between them. It is precisely this flatness, the close spacing of the ribs and their machined precision that gives these claddings their industrial appearance. The Euroline system, on the other hand, exhibits a hand-made quality. The more crafted softer look of the Euroline cladding was considered appropriate to the front of an important civic building, where the more closely ribbed metal claddings would look too industrial. n Steel Plate sign: The choice of steel plate sprang from a desire (evident through the materials used in the building) to express materials honestly and, as much as possible, in their natural state. One of the great natural materials, of keen interest to Architects over the past few years, is weathered steel. This material is difficult to use in buildings for numerous reasons (staining of adjacent finishes being a major one) but the opportunity to use it in a large format freestanding sign surrounded by garden circumvents those difficulties. The colour and texture of steel cannot be matched by any applied finish, and those special qualities give the sign a unique artistic and civic quality. Combined with the large scale of the sign it makes it a strong and artistic feature. The warmth and softness of the steel patina is a necessary foil to the overall size of the sign.

Feature wall in Franklin Court: Flat ZINCALUME ® sheet lining over plywood substrate arranged in a dynamic shape with automotive high gloss paint finish applied in strong accent colour. The smooth glossy surface contrasts the roughness of the off-the-form concrete base. Its sharp form emphasises the main north-south axis and cuts into the Franklin Court volume providing a focal element. n Other steel materials include ST900 profiled COLORSTEEL® prepainted steel cladding to Arts Centre exterior of the building and roofing. n Baby Corrugated COLORSTEEL® prepainted steel ceiling to Franklin Court. Architects: ASC Architects Telephone: 09 377 5332 Project Engineers:MPM Projects Ltd Construction: Gibson O’Connor Ltd Roofing & Cladding: Steel & Tube Roofing Telephone: 09 273 7628 Product:COLORSTEEL® ENDURA