Hybrid Centre: Using the Practice of Feng Shui to Bring Together Sports, Community and Well-Being
Sports and community centres are rarely found in New Zealand. The small amount of multi-sports centres that do exist have been inadequately designed; they have little sense of identity and successful expressions of vitality. Sports centres in New Zealand often consist of shed-like buildings that are unpleasant to be inside, and look like a garage from the outside; such as Toitu Poneke Football Club in Kilbirnie, Wellington.The problem with existing community centres is the inability to provide opportunities for social activities and assisting the local community in their daily lives (Gaol et al. 2014). These existing sports and community centres have little consideration of creating an inclusive and active community, and the result does not accommodate for the development and the future of the community. The needs of sports and community centres are essential. it is important to change the existing ideology of a sports centres and turn them into spaces with unlimited opportunities for new activities, and flexibility for growth and participation.
Currently there are several individual sports clubs around New Zealand, but many of them are finding it difficult to run and maintain. Sport Otago chief executive John Brimble stated that “…a lot of clubs are struggling to keep people involved in running the club” (Brimble, 2015). If a sport club do not have the funds to run the club or renovate their building, then the sport itself will be shut down to the detriment of the community altogether. The history and values of that particular club will be lost and forgotten over time. Many clubs around New Zealand are facing these issues now, especially in smaller communities. Sports club memberships are continuing to decline significantly, survey shows that in 1985, there were 80 club rugby teams and 181 netball club teams in Dunedin. In 2015, these numbers dropped to 57 club rugby teams and 38 club netball teams (Seconi, 2015). People may still be participating in sports, but they are not necessarily a part of a club. It is important to be a part of a community that encourages and supports each other through wins and losses. Rather than just play the sport and go, there should be more interaction between people with similar interests. Creating a singular building that caters for many sports as well as community needs is not a simple task. All clubs need to be respected equally and stand out individually; yet become cohesively united to create a welcoming community.
Along with European Pakeha, Maori and Pasifika, the Chinese community is also considered as one of the major ethnic groups that continues to grow in New Zealand. Over 36% of the Asian community identifies themselves as Chinese. The number of people in the Chinese community has increased by 33% since the 2006 census (Statistics New Zealand, 2013). Even though the number of people from the Chinese community is growing, there is very little culture present from the Chinese community compared to the other ethnicities.
The ancient Chinese practice ‘Feng Shui’ originated over 6000 years ago, and to this day; it is used to enhance the relationship between people and their surrounding environment (Bramble, 2017). By including and adapting the principles of Feng Shui, not only does it affect the design of a built environment; it also helps create a complete community that harmoniously brings together people and nature. Feng Shui will also bring opportunities to promote inclusiveness, as well as representing the diversity of cultures within New Zealand. Feng Shui should be utilised and thought about from all scales and perspectives.
The intention is to create not only an architectural form that houses sports and social gatherings, but an urban framework that creates opportunity for growth and interaction in the community. Master planning plays an important role in shaping the urban and social environment. The architecture of the sports and community centres is only one step in bringing together the local community. This research examines the site at both macro and micro scales to understand the needs and interests of the community; to create a healthy and liveable environment that also caters for growth and intensification. By developing a strategic framework that accompanies the masterplan, then it becomes possible to build stronger connections between buildings, social settings, and their surrounding environments.
The developed framework should focus on the improvement and growth of the community, followed by the design of the sports and community centre. The architecture is to reflect the township, the people, as well as the existing typography. By uniting the diverse athletes, together with the involvement with their families, friends and neighbours; the building will create an identity that is personally significant for everyone in the wider community. This is not just a centre for sports people, it is a place to benefit everybody’s health and well-being; people of all ages, ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background. The objective of this place is to meet new friends, to unite with old, and to learn and grow with each other.