Māngere Arts Centre is a multi-purpose community facility for the visual and performing arts, focusing on creativity and engagement with local rangatahi (young people). The centre aims to be a “well-spring” of creativity, a place where local people’s lives are transformed through the power of art.
Planning is predicated on giving formal expression to the visual and performing arts, the two main threads of the centre, through a gallery and performance space. A dialogue is established across a north facing, multi-purpose courtyard, and the foyer and shared function facilities are used to link the two.
The performance space is a flexible ‘black box,’ which can be configured in different formats. One side of the theatre can be opened up to the foyer, which in turn can be opened up to an external courtyard. This allows for informal performances, where spectators can move freely around the venue, and enables the foyer to be used as a stage, with the audience located in the courtyard. The ability to flow ‘in and out’ of the space recognises the traditionally strong indoor/outdoor connection of traditional Pacific Island buildings.
The architecture references Aotearoa’s (New Zealand) unique national identity of Māori, Pacific, and European cultures, and our place in the Pacific. Māngere Maunga (mountain), with its life-sustaining volcanic soils, is visible from the performance space foyer. Uenuku, the Māori god of creativity, whose physical manifestation is a rainbow, is referenced on the bright colours of the façade.