The Wellington Boys’ Institute was founded in Wellington over 100 years ago. Acquiring a building in Tasman Street in 1914 the organisation became the Boys’ and Girls’ Institute in 1981, to better reflect the youth they aimed to serve. Many Wellingtonians will remember the Pool and Gymnasium that continued to serve the public until the early 2000s when it was sold to make way for a supermarket, and subsequently demolished.
When the opportunity came to refit their premises in MacDonald Crescent the design brief was ambitious. The existing premises were not fulfilling the aspirations of the organisation and the project provided a chance to change that.
The existing building fabric was compromised and required careful thought to repurpose the space without overspending. A simple material palette was chosen to provide a backdrop to the occupation of the people who will inhabit the space. The emphasis was on opening up the space and providing good light throughout the interior, while also accentuating the height of the volume. The carved pou which details the history of BGI takes pride of place rising from the ground to the ridge.
The building houses offices, meetings spaces, a kitchen and eating space, and ablutions. The project ensures the organisation has a contemporary space that reflects their identity, and is tailored to their needs.