Developers Rob and Barb Hansen bought the property in 2018 and approached RTA Studio to craft a masterplan and design the base build.
The prominent corner site once housed the Hawkes Bay Tribune newspaper, a forerunner of Hawkes Bay Today. It was derelict but the architectural mix of the five buildings that took up almost have a city block was interesting and, while they needed seismic upgrading, they still had many features of merit.
Our umbrella concept involved creating a system of activated laneways and courtyards that would connect to Karamu Road and Queen Street and to repurpose the buildings for retail, office and hospitality use in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood.
Central to the property was the former press hall of the newspaper from which the development takes its name. This working shed, which housed the printing machinery, was tall and spacious, but lacking in natural light and sported a pastel façade that hailed from the 1980s.
Today, this modernised building, renamed The Atrium, harks of its roots. Exposed structural steel is the framework and extensive glazing on the roof and northern elevation allows light into the heart of the building. Glass fire-station doors at the entrance are in keeping with the industrial palette and a new spiral stairway in steel connects the ground floor which plays host to events and exhibitions, to the office accommodation on the mezzanine level.
To keep the height parameters similar, the two top floors of an adjacent building (the former administration block of the newspaper) were demolished. The refurbished structure was clad in vertical cedar to emphasise its height. An elegant metal roof cantilevers over a laneway alongside it to form a covered walkway linking the central courtyard with Karamu Road.
The development, which includes an historic red-brick building that once housed the paper’s archives, has been well-supported by boutique businesses who have stepped up to the plate in terms of fit-out. The mix of tenants has made it a one-stop destination for locals and an attractive place to visit by the domestic tourist market. Tribune plays to the strength of the stock of character buildings in the city and keys into the Hastings District Council ambition to draw more residents to live centrally.
See more at tribune.nz and atriumhawkesbay.co.nz