The story of Ansett Airlines has become a story of Hamilton and therefore a story shared and owned by all who live here. In respecting this treasured public identity, we have developed a concept for a new community used space at the site of the original Ansett headquarters, 210 Gray Street Hamilton.
Our proposed Ansett Centre is a place for gathering of people, services, information, ideas and events. The Centre will contain the town’s public library, meeting spaces, community kitchen, gymnasium space, storage, gathering areas and a 400m² exhibition space to be permanently occupied by the Ansett Museum collection. The site’s gradual slope towards French Street has been considered in preparing this design via dropping the floor level at the south end of the block to create a multi-level central core housing the library mezzanine, gym, storage spaces and then expending out into a full height exhibition space.
The roof form of the building has been derived from three key concepts: 1. Filling the interior spaces with diffused natural light from the south; 2. The spirit of a gathering space echoing the tent and marquee structures of country weddings, field days and events; and 3. Several aesthetic references to the silhouette of the Grampians and original large “A” Ansett logo.
The environmental quality of all buildings comes from an integration of all aspects of the environment – visual, thermal and acoustic – into a seamless whole. This synthesis follows from a grasp of the issues of environmental control which, while founded on the underlying physics of engineering and modern practice, sees the problem as one of arts as much as of science. At the Ansett Centre, this is revealed in the creation of a dramatically rising and falling roof line. This roof is fractured with windows allowing both natural light to fill the internal spaces and passive solar ventilation to occur through room given for hot air to rise and escape the building.
The roof form rises and falls reflecting the spaces underneath. This form imitates the profile of marquee type structures that often present themselves in regional towns, welcoming people to gather and partake in a market, celebration, performance or educational event. The Ansett Centre is hoped to be a permanent facility where many of these activities can live. This reference to marquees is used as a thick blanket over the building, a reminder of the primal function of shelter from which all architecture derives.