Thursday, November 04, 2010

Cave art

Over the years we have made some epic journeys to see interesting works of architecture so when we were in New Plymouth and ready to drive to Auckland, it felt stupid to not take the opportunity to see the new visitor centre at Waitomo Caves. Smart move. The building designed by Architecture Workshop turns out to be a lively mix of spectacle and practicality. Its jaw-dropping roof of some kind of inflated translucent fabric stretched over curved wooden beams. Inside the centre even though the usual services have to cater for busloads of visitors, their functionality doesn’t overwhelm a sense of openness, thoughtful detail and style. These are surely the architects who should have been asked to design the facilities for the Rugby World Cup. So there’s a local art pilgrimage for you: the visitor centre at Waitomo. Who’d have thought it?