The redevelopment of the Municipal Building got underway in January 2019 and is expected to be completed in early 2022.
At this stage the final make-up of what will operate in the building hasn’t been finalised, but it is certain that the Assembly Dining Hall and the Shakespeare Room will remain and it will be promoted as a commercial, community and education facility.
Architects Matthews & Matthews Architects collaborated with Dena Aroha Bach to develop concepts for the Hastings Municipal Building.
The concept is based on a Story of Light: to allow a reopening of the place; to bring back into the Hastings Municipal Building the light and energy of the community as a place of creativity and innovation that serves the community.
The aim is to re-engage the collective memories that already exist through this place, and for these memories and knowledge to be handed down to the youth and coming generations.
The building will resemble some of its original form when it was first built in 1916, such as opening up the central foyer area that will be entered from a laneway between the building and the Opera House, as well as from Hastings Street and Heretaunga Street. Retail and commercial spaces will be part of the new look.
Gemco is expected to finish all the structural strengthening by the end of April 2021, followed by a fit-out for the confirmed use.
Eddie says the strengthening is a huge undertaking due to how the building was originally built. “It was entirely made from bricks and mortar with no lateral seismic stability, and it was of a lower quality than the Opera House. We’ve virtually removed all the brick columns and replaced them with concrete.”