In 2019, this building (a former Catholic Church) underwent serious transformation when it was renovated and developed for Cinema Paradiso, a boutique and quirky movie theatre that is high on the list of Wānaka ‘must-dos’. The original Lockwood building was transformed into a three theatre complex, with an extended dining space and verandah, right in the heart of downtown Wānaka. Inside, much of the Lockwood timber and the high vaulted ceilings of the church remain. Our clients brief was to dramatically modernise the spacious entry foyer, then create a self-contained guest apartment above. Combining these two spaces into a cohesive building form was a challenging brief, overcome by using a large, two storey perforated steel screen with operable panels. This screen unifies both levels into one element, while allowing the occupants on both levels to open and close the screens as they please, creating an active and dynamic façade that changes constantly.
Shortly after this renovation we were contacted by the client, who wished to develop the cinema site further. Working within the limitations of the permitted building footprint, a compact commercial building was designed to occupy the immediate street frontage of the site. This building now houses the ‘Next Chapter Bookshop’. As a humble, yet busy retail space, the building serves its purpose beautifully in simplicity and function. Internally, the building is lined with ply and ample shelving, making for an intimate, cheerful space with a cosy feel and sense of nostalgia. Glazed street frontage draws in the passerby to peruse the extensively stocked shelves and creates a light-filled, welcoming vibe. The dark horizontal batten cladding elongates the small scale, while the low pitch roof provides connection back to the cinema, making the venue a hub for the biblio and cinephile alike.