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Event Lighthouse. The design of a cultural and exhibition center in Wellington

Dobrawa Bies
26 of January '22

The Klaudia Trębska, an architecture graduate of the Wroclaw University of Technology, has designed a cultural-exposure center on Wellington beach in New Zealand. Event Lighthosue is a revolving beach pavilion inspired by the way a lighthouse operates and referring to the historic building that operated at the site until the 1980s.

The project presented here is an engineering thesis by Klaudia Trębska, done at the Faculty of Architecture, Wrocław University of Technology, under the direction of Dr. Mark Lamber.

Projekt Event Lighthouse, widok od strony promenady

The designed object is located at the seaside promenade

© Klaudia Trębska

The area chosen by the author is located at the Oriental Parade seafront promenade, adjacent to Oriental Bay, at the foot of Mount Victoria in New Zealand. This location was quite a challenge for the student when designing an architectural object, which was to act as a background function for events in both the street and beach space. Klaudia Trębska's design idea is based on combining these two planes (the beach and the street) and creating a multifunctional building that, thanks to its structure, will adapt to a variety of cultural functions.

Projekt Event Lighthouse, plan zagospodarowania terenu

site development plan

© Klaudia Trębska

rotating building inspired by a lighthouse

My inspiration was the way a lighthouse works, emitting light to mark danger at sea. I created an object that, like a lighthouse, is visible from a great distance due to the illumination of light. However, the navigational function is manifested here by marking cultural events rather than danger at sea. The rotating pavilion, depending on the position it takes, indicates what type of event it will be and provides the necessary illumination, the author explains.

Lokalizacja budynku historycznego

The author wanted to refer to the former beach pavilion

© Klaudia Trębska

reference to the former beach pavilion

Klaudia also referred theidea of a rotating pavilion to the semicircular shape of the historic "Band Rotunda" building, which was built on the site in the early 20th century. According to the architect, the lower floor of the building housed changing rooms and restrooms, while the open pavilion served as a venue for public musical performances. In the 1980s, the pavilion was demolished and replaced by the existing two-story restaurant with an observation deck. Design analyses showed that the form of the current building is an obstruction to the beach, and the elevation on the Oriental Parade side of the street limits the view of the bay.

TheEvent Lighthouse symbolically draws inspiration from and at the same time commemorates the semicircular outline of the foundation of the former beach pavilion. For this reason, the pivot point of the designed pavilion is set at the geometric center of the circle on which the historic building rested, the author adds.

 Projekt Event Lighthouse w trakcie obrotu

The parallel alignment of the pavilion acts as a "gateway" to the beach

© Klaudia Trębska

multifunctional, mobile object

The building'srotating mechanism allows the pavilion to change its position by 90 degrees. The most characteristic are the two extreme positions of the pavilion - perpendicular and parallel to the quay. The mobile form of the pavilion allows for a multifaceted perception of its architecture, responds to the needs of the users of the building and creates numerous possibilities for the arrangement of space during cultural events held.

Projekt Event Lighthouse, schemat funkcjonalny

different arrangement of the pavilion

© Klaudia Trębska

Parallel to the waterfront, the pavilion's alignment performs the formal function of a "gate" to the beach, and also marks the entrance to the public toilets. In the space underneath the designed building, the author planned a place for the display of outdoor exhibitions. After dark, the pavilion illuminates the promenade, ensuring the safety of the building's use, and is also a landmark that can be seen from a considerable distance.

Projekt Event Lighthouse nocą

After dark, the pavilion is also a landmark

© Klaudia Trębska

On the other hand, positioning the pavilion perpendicular to the waterfront transforms it into a vantage point on the bay and a place to display indoor exhibitions. The space beneath the pavilion then has a pier jutting out into the sea, where music and dance performances and fashion shows can take place. For sporting events - such as beach volleyball matches, the plane of the pavilion's side elevation can serve as a scoreboard, as well as a screen for showing movies during outdoor cinema screenings.

Projekt Event Lighthouse, rzuty

Event Lighthouse, projections

© Klaudia Trębska

design solutions and rotating mechanism

The young architect, in order to limit the noise coming from the street, placed the main rooms of the building in the underground floor. Instead, she kept the lump of the first floor to a minimum, designing only a staircase in it, which leads to a cuboid pavilion raised by one floor. This keeps the space open and the view of Oriental Bay unobstructed.

Projekt Event Lighthouse, przekrój A-A

cross-section and structure of the building

© Klaudia Trębska

Due to the rotating mechanism located at the end of the staircase, its form took the shape of an elongated cuboid with rounded, shorter sides. The cladding of the exterior walls is made up of photovoltaic glass blocks, which use the sun's rays to emit light at night.

Projekt Event Lighthouse, przekształcony w punkt widokowy

The cladding of the exterior walls of the stairwell is formed by photovoltaic glass blocks

© Klaudia Trębska

Thepavilion's rotating mechanism is similar to a crane crane. It rests on a reinforced concrete shaft four meters high, and around its perimeter, under the foundation slab, reinforced concrete piles are arranged to transmit vertical forces to the ground. On the upper and lower planes of the shaft are attached rim bearings that form a form of "plate" that can rotate around its own axis. To both bearings, the author attached steel columns in the form of I-beams. These columns, are embraced by steel rings, which provide rigidity to the structure. Access to the bearings is provided from the roof level and allows maintenance using a lifting system. The steel structure is acid-resistant and has been protected against seawater. The author assumes that the designed structure should be verified for wind and seismic loads and adapted to the requirements of the local microclimate.

Also read about another project by Klaudia Trębska - a rehabilitation center designed for Australian koalas.

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