Mis­sion ac­com­plished

An en­vi­ably tal­ented team over­hauls an his­toric site to add el­e­gantly con­tem­po­rary spa­ces.

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Herbst Ar­chi­tects trans­forms an icon

“Our brief was to make a bach on the beach for every­one to use,” says ar­chi­tect Lance Herbst of the Mis­sion Bay Pav­il­ion, which opened re­cently next to the his­toric mis­sion build­ing af­ter which the bay is named. Work­ing with Katie Lock­hart on in­te­ri­ors and her brother Jared Lock­hart on land­scap­ing, Herbst Ar­chi­tects have brought their char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally light touch to one of Auck­land’s top spots: it’s the place to be for sun­down­ers this sum­mer. What did you set out to do? LANCE HERBST We set out to make a precinct in the park that is de­fined by a re­la­tion­ship between the new and the old build­ings. The bach brief al­lowed us to ar­tic­u­late the new build­ing in an­tithe­sis to the old: where the mis­sion build­ing is weighty and mas­sive with small punc­tures in its skin, the new is light and float­ing over the land and made up of light­weight stick el­e­ments and glass. The space cre­ated between the build­ings is as im­por­tant as the build­ings them­selves. The pav­il­ion – the seat­ing area of the restau­rant – is de­signed to be trans­par­ent when fully opened, to al­low the old mis­sion build­ings to be clearly seen from the park through the pav­il­ion. How did you man­age the beach­side en­vi­ron­ment? The pav­il­ion will have its doors open most of the year. Slid­ing wind shut­ters on both the east and west sides of the pav­il­ion are rigged into an open or closed po­si­tion, de­pend­ing on the di­rec­tion of the wind, which ed­its out cold breezes – and over­head heaters pro­vide heat­ing to the ter­races. The orig­i­nal build­ings date from the 1850s and are her­itage listed. How have you re-pur­posed them? The old build­ings have been very sub­tly seis­mi­cally up­graded and re­fur­bished by Sal­mond Reed Ar­chi­tects, with in­put from us and Katie Lock­hart Stu­dio. The main hall space re­mains largely as it was with­out re-pur­pos­ing: it will be used by the restau­rant as a func­tion space and will re­main available for com­mu­nity use. The re­main­ing space is used as a dis­play for arte­facts il­lus­trat­ing the his­tory of the Me­lane­sian mis­sion and for some back-of-house restau­rant func­tions. There was a pre­vi­ous ad­di­tion to the build­ing in the 2000s – what needed to change? The pre­vi­ous ad­di­tion had been badly run down and added to over the years with ad-hoc tem­po­rary struc­tures. It needed a com­pre­hen­sive ap­proach to cover and a more holis­tic ap­proach to the re­la­tion­ship with the old build­ings. You’ve worked with Katie Lock­hart on in­te­ri­ors and brother Jared Lock­hart on land­scap­ing? Katie added her ex­pe­ri­ence with restau­rants, de­sign and de­tail­ing of ban­quettes and fur­nish­ings, and a view on fab­ric and colour that sur­prised us, in a good way. We’re also de­lighted with the land­scape de­sign – be­cause of the ar­chae­ol­ogy Jared wasn’t able to dig holes, so he planted con­tain­ers to give the court­yard char­ac­ter, in­clud­ing lemons. The hard sur­fac­ing is a com­bi­na­tion of ir­reg­u­lar stone slabs and hog­gin, which feath­ers nicely into the park­land.

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