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  • Writer's pictureThree Parks

Wanaka Recreation Centre captures international attention

By Allison McLean

Wanaka Recreation Centre (WRC) is gaining international recognition after opening its doors just under three years ago. The community facility is shortlisted in the 2019 INDE.Awards, which celebrate the Indo-Pacific region’s most progressive design and architecture.

WRC is the only project from New Zealand that is shortlisted with seven others in the award’s Wellness Space category. It is also only one of two buildings in the whole of Aotearoa among 126 projects selected across 13 categories and 14 countries. More than 430 projects were entered this year, which is an increase of 43 percent year-on-year from 2017.

“Sport and recreation hubs, like WRC, play a key role in strengthening social connections across the district and improving the well-being of our community,” said Thunes Cloete, Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) general manager community services. “Good design ensures that these facilities provide a welcoming, inclusive space that incorporates the latest architectural thinking in tune with the local environment.”

QLDC owns and operates the $12.3 WRC, which opened in July 2016 with a two-court indoor stadium, outdoor turf, changing rooms, meeting rooms and a reception area; an adjoining three-pool aquatic facility was completed last June. The building’s design allows for opportunities to extend the centre as demand increases.

“This latest recognition is a testament to all our project partners, especially Warren and Mahoney [Architects] for designing a multi-use centre that creates a sense of belonging and encourages participation, and also to the Upper Clutha community who visit in increasing numbers to swim, keep active and enjoy the space,” said Cloete. “A notable shift towards the wellness trend in New Zealand has resulted in a need for multi-use sports and recreation spaces,” said Warren and Mahoney principal Daryl Maguire. “Appealing to this community call, the Wanaka Recreation Centre creates a sense of belonging and encourages participation from all community members with a combination of sports courts and aquatic space under one roof. The resulting design is a calming and inviting environment encompassing all elements of wellness and healthy lifestyle.

Public engagement on a WRC and Queenstown Events Centre join masterplan will occur later this year to allow local clubs, groups and community members to help form the future development of the district's council-managed sports and recreation facilities.

Winners will be announced at the third annual 2019 INDE.Awards Gala, hosted in Melbourne, Australia, on June 21.

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