Ashburton’s new Library and Civic Centre transforms community access to essential services and emergency response, leveraging sustainable design and modern engineering to create a resilient and vibrant hub.

We collaborated with Ashburton District Council to create Te Whare Whakatere, Ashburton Library and Civic Centre. The challenge was to build a modern, flexible space that serves diverse community needs while preserving local heritage. 

Spanning over 6,500m² across three levels, this new hub anchors a prominent corner site, providing a sheltered public courtyard and integrating the historic Pioneer Hall into the children’s library.

Engaging extensively with the community through the ‘Our Place’ campaign, Ashburton District Council ensured the project reflected the residents’ vision and incorporated predominantly timber construction to create a welcoming and sustainable environment. 

The new centre houses the library, council chamber, council staff offices, and a civil defence facility, all designed to be flexible and accessible. The design includes spacious courtyards and natural light, creating a vibrant atmosphere that supports community engagement.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was completed in early 2024, with the building open for business on 29 January. This project is a testament to Ashburton District Council’s commitment to sustainable and community-centric design, setting a new benchmark for public buildings in New Zealand. The new Library and Civic Centre is a cornerstone for Ashburton, fostering a sense of pride and connection.


  • 2024 Property Council New Zealand Property Industry Awards – Warren and Mahoney Council Civic, Health & Arts Property Award, Excellence

  • 2024 Property Council New Zealand Property Industry Awards – Resene Sustainable Building Property Award, Merit


Carbon reduction by design


CO2 equivalent saved


Ashburton Artesian HVAC system

Front elevation on Baring Square East.
Main entrance to the library showcasing the timber structure and services coordination.
Historic Pioneer Hall brick walls, roof rafters and chimneys retained and strengthened, incorporated into the Children’s Library.
View of the CLT wall and roof structure.
CLT panels during construction with Pioneer Hall in the background.
Front elevation on Baring Square East.

Our team says...

Being able to bring the best of Beca’s Building design expertise to Ashburton has been an absolute pleasure – we are proud to have been involved with this truly transformational and sustainability-focussed project for Ashburton.

Jaclyn Pow

Technical Director, Building Services

Our client says...

ADC is delighted to have worked closely with Beca to bring this remarkable building to life. Beca’s input was critical to the success of the building services, and their readiness to respond and advise during construction was hugely appreciated.

Hamish Riach

Chief Executive, Ashburton District Council

Our People

Amber Coulthard

Senior Structural Engineer

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Jaclyn Pow

Manager - Southern Building Services

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Jared Keen

Technical Director - Seismic & Structural Engineering

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