Recreating A Community Icon

In early 2010 a fire at the Raglan Wharf and adjacent building all but destroyed a much loved community facility. Following strong community sentiment, the Waikato District Council committed not only to reinstate the whole facility but to enhance its functionality and upgrade the wharf structure. Beca was appointed as architecture and engineering consultants for the project, bringing extensive international experience in both wharf buildings and community facilities from around the Asia-pacific region to the challenge.

The first step was to consult with the community and really understand what role a new facility could play in Raglan and how locals and visitors might utilise it. This process provided a comprehensive picture of what the solution needed to capture – and a challenging brief for the consultants!

Following a workshop with the client on how to proceed, Beca worked with the concept of the new building being ‘long life, loose fit’. Long life signifies durability, while loose fit empowers the community to utilise the interior spaces as demand required, providing long term tenancy options. Large span steel structure paired with light weight partitions allows for the prospect of change should tenants or the market demand.

The result is a building that seamlessly integrates into the surrounding environment. Visually, the new building references the form of the existing building with variable formed pitched gable roofed elements, picture framed windows and a covered walkway/verandah. Dimond Corrugate roof and wall cladding in ColorCote® ZM8™ Alpine Blue and Grey Flannel respectively were selected for their robust and durable nature to sustain the corrosive environment synonymous with the West Coast and the Raglan surf. ColorCote® ZM8™ has a hot-dipped aluminium/ zinc/magnesium alloy-coated steel substrate which gives it enhanced cut-edge and wet-area performance in severe environments. The cladding has been used horizontally and vertically to express the different elements of the building. While the chosen exterior colours reference the existing building they also draw from the palette of natural features that surround the wharf – the sea and harbour, iron sands of the west coast beaches, the cliffs and flats around the harbour, and the vast sky. The building aesthetic and colours provide a grounded and complementary feature on the wharf that has been well received by the public and local community.

Powdercoated aluminium ‘C’ channels have been used to exaggerate frames around exterior windows and doors that draw upon historical references of the previous building. The appearance of plywood soffits in natural satin finish complement the exterior aesthetic in contrast to the extensive use of steel. The extensive use of prefinished materials is intended to minimise the amount of maintenance required for a public building of this nature for the Client. The interior of the tenancies have been lined with natural plywood and the public and staff toilets have vibrant colours introduced to contrast with and distinguish them from the relative ‘quiet’ and elegant simplicity of the exterior.

Design solutions that get recognised

The team at Beca are focussed on creating enduring architecture and design that is specifically tailored to the needs and requirements of the client and the end users. In an exciting development for the Raglan community, this project was a Finalist in the 2013 New Zealand and Australia Dulux Colour Awards.

We believe that the success of any project lies in the development of a close, integrated and collaborative approach between the client and the design team. Coupled with a desire to establish and maintain clear communication among our clients, consultants and staff, we keep each project evolving flexibly and quickly – carefully considering the key drivers of cost, programme, lifecycle and environmental sustainability.


Architect: Roger Dowling Senior Architect
Registered Architect NZRAB Beca
Alana Thorn - Architectural Graduate
Telephone: +64 7 578 0896
Mobile :64 27 669 0682

Roofing/Cladding Manufacturer: Dimond

Profile: Corrugate in ColorCote® ZM8™

Colour: Alpine Blue and Grey Flannel

Main Contractor: Livingstone Brothers
70 Maui Street, Hamilton NZ, 3241
Telephone: 07 849 0082

Roofing Supplier: Pacific Coil Coating

Roofing Installer: TCB Roofing
75 Rototuna Road
Telephone: 07 846 6390