Dunsandel Community Centre - 106 Architects | ArchiPro

Dunsandel Community Centre

106 Architects were engaged to undertake the preliminary concept development and deliver the new community facility on the Dunsandel Domain for a small, highly engaged rural community outside Christchurch.

Working with Global Leisure Group for the sport places planning, we developed a brief and concept to serve the needs of the Dunsandel community after the loss of their centre from the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. This building function and programme are driven by its unique position, as the meeting point of rural Canterbury, and the diverse functional needs that entail – agriculture and agriculture-business meet tourism, lifestyle, sports, culture and community activities.

The proposed facility, which is managed and operated in partnership with the local community, provides a social hub that enables the community to gather for educational, sporting, recreational, cultural and traditional community events.

The new community facility incorporates a multi-use hall and community space, flexible education and meeting rooms, toilet facilities, reception and administration office, flexible function and lounge areas, kitchen and bar facilities for up to 300 people capacity gatherings. A raised podium balcony provides areas for viewing over the Domain Reserve. The extensive and considered landscaping treatment facilitates for the colourful, local community activities.

The building is located on a North-South axis between the two existing sports fields, where we saw an opportunity to set it back from the street and carpark; to savour the view to the alps beyond, and also to bed it into the unique landscape. This setback also created an opportunity for a newly landscaped plaza area that could act as a fulcrum and connector of the existing sports centre and new community centre – to join community and sport via an outdoor social space.

To acknowledge the surrounding plains, flanked by the Southern Alps on the inland horizon, we choose to ground the building on a podium, creating a terraced platform that allows for slight spectator elevation to view sports field action. Introducing a familiar material on a large scale gives the building presence in the landscape, yet allows a closer intimacy and familiarity when people move towards it.

Inside, the external roofline becomes more dynamic – a nod to the vibrancy of the activity and community inside. The ceiling is sharper, more cutting, assisting the acoustic performance required of the hall space.

The reception can be used to address tourists’ questions, as well as serve as a vestibule or lobby for an event, or as a set-up area for a caterer. Meeting rooms can be expanded and can open to the main hall to act as a supper area or back of house (BOH) area for a school production.


  • NZIA Regional Award Winner – 2019 NZIA Canterbury Awards
  • Sports and community case study example of how to bring a community together following devastating earthquakes
  • A purpose-built community centre in the middle of a sports ground.

Photography credit: Simon Devitt

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