Trafalgar Centre Nelson Southern Extension

The Trafalgar Centre, designed by Alex Bowman and built in 1972, has served Nelson well. For a number of years, however, it has been unable to meet the operational requirements of modern sports and entertainment events or to accommodate growing numbers of spectators.

This is Stage 1 of a two stage upgrade. The complete upgrade involves book ending the curved roof part of the original complex with two larger volumes that are curved in plan. The concept is designed in part to respond to the existing curved roof with the additional intent to break down the formal edges of the structure. This gave additional impact to the design with the curve maximising the changing light as you move around the building. As the extension faces to the south the tall facade of the building would otherwise ( had it been a straight wall) have presented a very dark face during the winter months particularly when contrasted with the low sun angles that reflect from the existing structure. The design intention was to balance the strength to the new extension with the existing bold form. Increasing the scale of the Trafalgar Centre so significantly has implications for the Nelson city scape. This fact influenced design choices with regard to form and materials. The curved southern wall, clad in matt dark green zinc panels, terminates at both ends in a slender edge aimed at reducing the visual impact of this large volume.

The future extension to the north is intended to reflect the curve of stage one but will be of a more transparent nature enabling sunlight to enter the building and to take advantage of the views to the north.

The cladding and flashings are titanium zinc. The profile is the Reinzink V25 reveal profile from Eurometals Ltd and the colour is Graphite Grey. Right from the initial sketch plan the intension was to use a metal product to accentuate the curve of the building, provide a homogenous skin, and link back to the existing aluminium cladding. A variety of vertical and horizontal products were considered before settling on the Reinzink. The V25 profile allowed the sheets to be fixed to the curve on site rather than pre-forming. This minimised the joints and accentuate the horizontal line of the curve which runs at 1º adding drama to the façade. The durability of any material placed on this façade was also important as the building is very close to the sea we were determined that what ever we used would look as good in 10 – 15years as it did the day it was installed. Arthouse worked closely with the supplier on how the panels fitted together and especially on the detailing of the top capping as we felt it was important that there was no obvious capping to the building – we were keen to blur the edges.

In such large spaces sound can be an issue and a new acoustic suspended ceiling was installed under the existing Woodtex using a combination of white Ecophon 1200 x 600 Super G tiles over the main court area. Coruline metal finish corrugated sheeting with acoustic blanket backing was used over the seating area. For the extension ceiling black Sombra tiles were used above the exposed metal trusses. The walls behind the terraced seating were lined with Decortech Decorsound panels finished in Beech veneer. To complete the package the inside face of the curved wall is finished in Ecoply plywood with 90 x 40 radiata batten pattern to disperse the sound.

The original entry and front spaces are still being used but once inside the original sports hall everything has changed. The ceilings and walkway walls have been treated acoustically, passive ventilation has been introduced to the ridge and heating panels have been installed above the seating. New changing rooms and public amenities are provided.

The extra space provided by the addition creates room for an extra court or performance space with the increased height allowing greater flexibility and more options for lighting and props. Five hundred new mobile seats can be moved around allowing for different theatre and sports layouts. The patterned plywood and timber back wall acts as an acoustic screen as well as providing a vibrant backdrop to the new space.

Arthouse have recently been awarded the 2009 NZIA Nelson Marlborough Architecture Award for the Trafalgar Centre Southern Extension in the Public Architecture section. Coman Construction Ltd also received a gold in the local Master Builders Awards for Tourism and Leisure for their work on the Centre.

Arthouse Architecture Ltd.

Arthouse Architecture Ltd. was formed in 2001 when David Wallace and Min Hall merged their individual firms. In 2008 a third Director, Jorgen Andersen, joined them bringing new energy and fresh ideas to what is the largest architectural practice in the Nelson Marlborough region.

The bulk of Arthouse Architecture’s work is located in Nelson and Marlborough and the firm is actively involved in discussions focussing on the region’s future as one of New Zealand’s most desirable locations. With the benefit of thirty years experience in the area they have a particular interest functional and innovative design solutions to projects of all scales.

Arthouse has a long standingcommitment to sustainable and energy efficient design reinforced by ongoing research. Every project is an opportunity to not only meet or exceed clients’ needs and aspirations but to make a positive contribution to the built environment.

The practice consists of twelve staff including Directors, Registered Architects, Architectural Graduates, Draughts people, Interior Designers and an Office Administrator. The studio / office is set up for designers to work collaboratively. This team approach flows through to a close working relationships with clients, consultants and construction teams. Arthouse and it’s predecessors, have consistently been recognised for completed projects gaining awards in both the NZIA Architectural Awards programme and the Master Builders Awards. Current projects range from residential, commercial and community developments.

Arthouse proudly produces consistently well detailed projects and this high level of documentation contributes to reduced build time and variations during the project.

A high level of thought is applied to contextual considerations of each project and thorough planning at the concept stage. Incorporating cost efficient solutions that relate to the site and use of the building.

Arthouse Architecture Ltd.
Brian Riley - B.Arch, B.F.A., A.N.Z.I.A.
Telephone: 03 546 6664

Main Contractor:
Coman Construction Ltd
Telephone: 03 544 6050

Cladding Supplier:
Eurometals Ltd
Telephone: 04 293 6422
Profile: Reinzink V25

Colour: Graphite Grey

Cladding Installer:
Freeman Roofing
Telephone: 03 544 3108.

Photography: Simon Devitt.