Te Auaunga Awa Multicultural Fale and Outdoor Classroom - McCoy + Heine Architects | ArchiPro

Te Auaunga Awa Multicultural Fale and Outdoor Classroom

The multicultural fale and outdoor classroom is part of suite of integrated artworks designed by McCoy & Heine Architects working in collaboration with Tongan-born artist and community leader Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi, for the Te Auaunga Awa Project in Mount Roskill.

Opened to the public in 2019, Te Auaunga Awa, was established as a design-led & holistic storm water upgrade project to prevent flooding, enable housing intensification, and to establish a river park along Te Auaunga Awa/ Oakley Creek. The project includes shared pathways and pedestrian bridges, community orchards, outdoor play areas, as well as the multicultural fale and outdoor classroom area.

McCoy & Heine Architects working in close collaboration with Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi, were engaged to work alongside mana whenua representatives, Boffa Miskell, Auckland Council, and the local community, to develop a suite of integrated artworks, in the form of seating, and tables, an outdoor classroom, and multicultural Fale.

The Multicultural Fale

Generally an open sided structure, with a dominant roof form, the fale is a symbolic architectural form of the pacific. The use of ‘lalava’ (binding) provides the means by which the fale structure is brought and tied together, as well as providing decorative opportunity to communicate culturally symbolic patterns and carry meaning.

The use of lalava/ lashing and weaving, a central theme in the work of artist Filipe Tohi, and is conceived in this project as a formal expression of the desire for the ‘fale’ to capture and bind together Wesley’s diverse community.

The colourful lalava inspired roof structure references uenuku (the rainbow), a common unifying element across the pacific oceans, and also is a celebration of the diversity of cultures within the Mount Roskill and wider Auckland area.

Along with the symbolic reference to the kupenga (net), there are additional references to the pacific, with the turtle in the shape of the floor plate, and the awa (stream) and tuna (eel) motifs in the seating.

The use of indigenous materials in the fale, such as totara and kohatu (locally sourced basalt), embeds the project in its place, acknowledging the mana whenua as kaitiaki of the awa and area. The 8 steel pou (posts) holding up the fale roof are clad in 8 different types of timber, 6 sourced from different continents and the two pou facing east from New Zealand native timbers.

The fale forms the centerpiece of part of an outdoor classroom area for use by the local schools.  A series of seats, platforms, and tables form part of the wider outdoor classroom suite, and are spread throughout the project. The designs for these elements also use the integration of symbolic representations of patiki/ fish, manu/ birds, awa/ stream, and lalava/ lashing.

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