Two groups were invited by Creative Arts and Industries lecturer Kathy Waghorn at Auckland University to participate as the ‘Clients’ for an Architecture Students Project focusing on the 3 Guys site.
Brief/introduction to students:
Avondale, a suburb in the west of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, has a rich history of production and transport. Originally named Te Whau, after the estuarial arm of the Waitemata Harbour which runs along the western edge of the suburb, Avondale is situated on the Great North Road. Completed in the late 1850’s, this road was once the only way to travel overland north from Auckland. A railway connection completed in the 1880’s cemented Avondale’s place on the western edge of the city and bought further settlement. Brickworks, tanneries, mills and pottery works were common in early Avondale, along with market gardens. Later a hotel and cinema were opened.
Today Great North Road still bisects the suburb, with the primary school to the east and the Avondale Racecourse, home of Auckland’s largest produce and flea market to the west. This mainstreet is dotted with retail, once banks and the post office, and still the occaisional family run store, but more common now fast food chains and two dollar shops. At the town center sits a huge gap in this main-street fabric. In June 1997 the 3Guys Supermarket announced it was to close its doors and in July 1998 the supermarket building was demolished. To the immense frustration of residents twenty years have passed with no development of this central site.
However, it now looks likely that this situation is finally about to change. Panuku Development Auckland (a council controlled organisation) have produced the ‘Unlock Avondale’ plan that may see the development of a new Avondale Community Center and Library on this important site. In this Design 4 studio our clients are two community groups who are keen to see this happen. Avondale Community Action is a group of individuals and organisations based in Avondale working towards a better future for their community and Whau The People is an Avondale based interdisciplinary arts collective focused on creating opportunities for local artists and residents to engage and participate in the arts within their community. Our collective task in this studio is to act as a research laboratory for these two groups, imagining future possibilities for this site and its spatial relationship to other key places in the suburb, investigating the role and function of a dual library and community center programme and envisaging a re-invigorated Great North Road.
Later in the year we were invited to participate in the students presenting their final projects. The ideas were amazing and varied, to see the innovative ideas that responded to our community needs was a breath of fresh air.
Thank you very much for allowing us to share your work with the wider Avondale community, we hope Panuku take some of your amazing ideas onboard for the actual development & that the design process undertaken by them also reflects the communities needs and that the build enhances the Avondale Town Square and recreation space adjacent to it.