One of the best redevelopments to happen in Timaru in recent times would have to be the Timaru Courthouse. It can be seen as a most successful enhancement of the original, cleverly integrating the old and rather inadequate building with the complex requirements of a modern operating courthouse. Opus Architecture won awards in both the public architecture and sustainable architecture categories with its work on this building.
At the opening the Courts, Minister Mrs Georgina Te Heuheu, QSO, said the new courthouse was “a stunning marriage between the old and new... The splendour of the original Timaru Courthouse, which was built in 1877, has not only been retained but has also been skilfully enhanced by the contemporary architecture. Those involved are to be congratulated for ensuring the tradition and history associated with this building is not lost to future generations."
Adaptive re-use is a commonly used term for ‘recycling’, or ‘upcycling’ perhaps. In buildings, it means to give new life to a site. Rather than seeking to freeze it at a particular moment in time, it explores the options between the extremes of demolition or turning a site into a museum. Adding a new layer without erasing earlier layers, an adaptive re-use project becomes part of the long history of the site. It is another stage in the ongoing history of an historic building. In this case, Timaru was the lucky benefactor in the work undertaken and we at the Civic Trust are very appreciative of the planning, work and thought that went into this rebuild. Job Well Done.