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Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre

Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre, Architecture Workshop

Photo by Patrick Reynolds


The Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre showcases the collaboration between a number of New Zealand building and componentry suppliers and uses advanced digital technology in the construction process.

Designed by Christopher Kelly from Architecture Workshop, the new Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre reflects the curve in the Waitomo River and the contours of the land. The medal, presented on May 20, 2011 by the New Zealand Institute of Architects, recognises excellence in architecture from all categories.


Imaginatively conceived and masterfully executed, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves Visitor Centre confidently demonstrates that, in New Zealand, a building in a landscape can be an attraction in its own right. In this adventurous project, the vision of the clients has been matched by the daring of the architect and the engineer, and the effort put into researching the design has been equaled by the care taken in realising the building. The interplay of the vaulting canopy, with its wonderfully spare timber gridshell and ETFE air pillows, and the inhabited terraces beneath creates an extraordinary realm for visitors to the Glowworm Caves. The commercial programme has been accommodated in a transcendent structure, poetic in its form and protean in its readings. An inspired design has been translated into an inspirational building.

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