The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification program and sustainable design framework that visualises the ideal for the built environment. It uses the metaphor of a flower because the ideal built environment should function as cleanly and efficiently as a flower. It is currently the world’s most rigorous proven performance standard for buildings.
Ngai Tuhoe’s head office Te Kura Whare (previously called Te Uru Taumatua) was certified as New Zealand’s first ‘Living Building’ in May 2017 and Tuhoe wanted to integrate as many elements as they could into this new build.
The building encompasses a local tribal office, a café, retail space and an information centre where visitors can learn about the area and gear up for the four day walk around the lake.
This building represents Tuhoe’s first physical presence on the shore of Lake Waikaremoana since they were forcibly removed during colonisation.
The award winning building was designed by Tennant Brown
The construction team spent 11 months managing the build in this very remote location within the Te Urewera rainforest
Significant emphasis was put on employing and training local iwi during the build
The significance of the site, the surrounding landscape and local narratives have been woven skilfully into the buildings design and construction
The building’s timber floor is respectfully repurposed ceiling sarking from the Āniwaniwa Visitor Centre which was demolished late 2016
Always testing new sustainable approaches, Tūhoe trialed the use of charred timber to reduce the amount of treated timber within the building. This is considered a representation of overcoming the scorched earth policy which drove Tūhoe from the lake during colonization
Public Architecture Award at the 2017 Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay Architecture Awards.
Read more on the project and hear from Visitor experience manager Derek Brenchley
Lake’s tribal base open for business – Gisbourne Herald
Hear more from the people that worked on the project
Small army of tradespeople bring project to fruition – Gisbourne Herald