ArchitectureNow Article: Motu Kaikoura Update

17 November 2017

Architecture Now has published an article on the updated progress of the SGA / A+W NZ Motu Kaikoura Project, written by A+W NZ Co-Chair Lynda Simmons. 10 Nov 2017. (Re-printed below.)

Refer to the Building Workshop information page for more information on the project, its participants and progress.

Update: Motu Kaikora Building Workshop

Review: Architecture+Women•NZ chair Lynda Simmons reports on the progress of the SGA and A+W•NZ Motu Kaikoura Building Workshop.

Progress has been strong on the SGA and A+W•NZ Motu Kaikoura Building Workshop, with the team mentally preparing for the (psychologically) challenging task of dismantling the very building they have been constructing over the last four months.

Hard at work on the floor in Week 3. Image: A+W•NZ

The kitchen/dining/research facility being built for the Motu Kaikoura Community Trust at the prefabrication SGA and Crate Innovation Ltd Workshops in Kingsland is almost complete – and now the team of 16 participants need to prepare to take it all apart again, labelling each component, right down to each screw, as they go.

The celebration of a completed building will be short-lived, as then the task will be to dis-assemble and flatpack for transport by barge to Kaikoura Island, a short ferry trip from Great Barrier Island.

The floor, wall and roof cassettes will be air-lifted by helicopter to the site, which is on higher ground, and where the foundations have already been put into place by a team of builders. The team from the SGA / A+W•NZ Motu Kaikoura Building Workshop and contracted builders will spend 4 days on site (date to be confirmed – weather dependant) re-assembling the building.

Wall lift in Week 8. Image: A+W•NZ

For the last 14 weeks, the workshop team has had two build days per week, in addition to their usual working week. It has been a huge commitment by all – and one they are loving. The team participants speak of an increased respect for builders, and a sharpened focus on documentation communication, ideally prepared from a contractor’s perspective. More than a few have commented on adjusting their documentation layouts or ordering.

The team has loved the physical aspect to their time in the workshop, as well as the reminder that construction is so mentally challenging. Construction education for architects is valuable because it strengthens communication strategies and techniques between all construction team members, and removes elements of the unknown. “I don’t know why I was afraid of building so much” commented participant Yenegh Badimayalew, who is now inspired to build her own small dwelling.

But most rewarding of all is the ability to provide an affordable, well-designed building to a community group who could not afford it. Dave Strachan, with Project Architect Maria Hoskings, was determined to provide such a building for SGA client the Motu Kaikoura Trust, a non-profit charitable organisation who lost their research centre to arson in 2013.

Through clever structuring and creative fund-raising, Dave and Maria have brought together teams of people and building methods which has enabled the project to go ahead, after the realisation that traditional design and building processes would render the project unaffordable.

Having a laugh inside the end wall in Week 9. Image:  A+W•NZ

A+W•NZ has been honoured to have been part of this wider process, helping to fulfil Dave Strachan’s plan. It speaks volumes of how this building workshop has been run that the team of 16 who met as strangers are now firm friends.

The workshop participants thank the leadership of Dave Strachan, always patient and generous with his knowledge. As summed up by participant Gaynor Eade, “There are many things that will linger from our experience – measure twice, cut once, don’t back the truck into the fence, squeeze don’t crush, and Dave’s motto: the more you give, the more you keep.”

Thanks to all A+W•NZ sponsors: Resene, APL Industries Ltd, NZ Panels Ltd, Gib and ArchitectureNow. Material-supply sponsors have also donated generously via SGA; Resene, Metalcraft, NZ Steel, Carter Holt Harvey (LVL and plywood), MSL/Fortress, Spax Pacific Ltd, Rosenfeld Kidson, PSP Ltd, APL Industries Ltd and Metro Glass.

You can follow the progress as the construction continues on Instagram. More information on the A+W•NZ website (including week-by-week photos).