Te Ara Ātea (Selwyn Library and Community Centre)

Warren and Mahoney
New Zealand/Aotearoa

Te Ara Ātea, is a new library, community and performance facility. It is the anchor landmark building for the future Rolleston Town Centre, situated on what is currently Rolleston Reserve in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Following Selwyn District Council’s extensive community consultation, Warren and Mahoney utilised this vital local knowledge to form the backbone of the briefing and design process, delivering a community facility that is directly formed from its community’s needs.

Te Ara Ātea acts as a beacon, not only in location, but for the diverse and growing Selwyn District community it serves. The design of the building has a strong community focus and challenges the typical preconceptions of a ”library”. Selwyn District Council and the collaboration of the wider design team worked hard to connect community needs with cultural heritage at all levels. The result is not only a library but a flexible, multi-purpose community and performance space that acts as a hybrid museum and live history tour.

A primary structure of the building is the steel frame to meet the client’s requirements for large, uncluttered areas for maximum future flexibility. External walls are timber framed with glazing and are clad in custom designed scalloped aluminium panels and solar shade louvres. The semi-polished silver anodised finish was developed especially for the project in conjunction with the façade engineers and the aluminium suppliers. The shimmering reflections created by the cladding are intended to evoke the rippled surface of the braided rivers that are unique to the Canterbury plains and hold cultural importance to local iwi.

Furniture: Aspect Furniture, Harrows, Hay, Cult, Sancal, UFL, Billiani, Unison Workspaces, Noom, Kada, +Halle, Bishops Interiors, Swiss Design, Zenith Interiors, Porcini, Fletcher Design, Luxxbox, Vidak.


Finishes: Autex Industries, Prime Panels, Autex Industries, Jacobsen, Inzide, Heritage Carpets, Belgotex, Jacobsen, Inzide, Decortech, Creative Flooring, Prime Panels, Dulux, Resene. Fittings & Fixtures: Caroma, Mico, Ondo, Plumbline, Robique, Heritage Hardware, Bili, Supreme.


Photography: Grant Davis, Ian Hutchinson, Simon Devitt.