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Curtain Rises on PAUA Architects Meteor Theatre Project

Curtain Rises on PAUA Architects Most Recent Theatre Project

Following significant earthquake strengthening and building works, the Meteor Theatre has officially relaunched. Amongst those celebrating was theatre neighbour and the architect behind the project, Antanas Procuta of PAUA Architects.

Procuta first became involved with the Meteor a decade ago while it was still under the control of the Hamilton City Council. He proposed a four-stage plan to improve the historically important and CBD gateway building. The initial work included a complete roof replacement to create an acoustic separation from the theatre, the removal of asbestos, installation of a lift, creating the SODA mezzanine, and providing a sense of occasion in the lobby.

Most recently, stage two has been completed. That comprised the seismic strengthening, creation of a Green Room, and soundproofing the Black Box Theatre (incidentally, the largest theatre of its kind in New Zealand). Future proposed works include the upgrade of the public areas including the café and toilets.

The Meteor project was a working collaboration between One Victoria Trust, BCD Group and Fosters Construction. Procuta said “BCD offered a very clever solution of anchoring the new workshop to the existing theatre. Their thinking was transformational to the build, both structurally and economically. Fosters had great people working on the Meteor, and it was an exciting project”.

Although the Meteor site threw some unexpected hurdles in the way, Procuta enjoyed the opportunity to work with the aesthetic the building offered as a former factory. His next vision is to drop the windows on the Anzac Parade side so it provides a real street presence, and pedestrians can see people enjoying the cool factory-inspired interior space.

PAUA works across all genres – residential, commercial and industrial, and subsets thereof – historical buildings, Churches and schools. However, their work at The Meteor hasn’t been their only foray into the Arts scene. Procuta explored the arts at school and produced his first set design. He was thrilled to liaise with former school friend Richard Sutherland on Clarence Street Theatre, where the brief was the upgrade the foyer and auditorium, and enliven the exterior of the building.

Procuta was also instrumental in the creation of Embassy Park, the home of the Riff Raff statue. PAUA Architects is conscious of exterior spaces and particularly the concept of creating outdoor rooms between buildings, which is what Embassy Park has become. The Park is a hub for street theatre and activity, but the open air performance stage is currently on hold pending discussions in relation to the proposed regional theatre.

Procuta encourages his clients to think strategically, to consider sustainability, how the building functions, longevity of materials used, and leaving a legacy. He is an advocate of buildings that engage with the city and spaces that encourage street activity such as Embassy Park. Indeed, he has made his mark on the Arts Precinct, and the city’s theatres will continue to benefit from the support of PAUA Architects for generations to come.


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