Planned hall showcased with VR

After more than two decades of conflict and indecision, a new hall is finally in reach for Cromwell residents.

What to do with the town’s out-of-date Memorial Hall has been the source of much debate, but at the weekend the community had the chance to virtually experience, see and feel what the future looks like.

Last month the Cromwell Community Board endorsed preliminary designs for the new $38 million multi-purpose complex to replace the original 60-year-old building on Melmore Tce.

The proposed design includes a 400-seat auditorium, cafe, cinema, flexible community and meeting spaces, as well as housing the Cromwell Museum.

On Friday, Cromwell Community Board began public drop-in sessions at McNulty House in the Heritage Precinct to allow members of the public to engage with the design process and give feedback before the designs are further developed and go before the board for final sign-off.

Each space in McNulty House was themed around the history of the project, what was in the building and the outside area, to help bring context to the plans.

Design consultants Jasmax, who have been working alongside Cromwell architect Jessie Sutherland on the designs, Central Otago District Council staff and community board members, were on hand to discuss plans.

Studio architect Jessie Sutherland and Cromwell Community Board member Bob Scott check out the...
Studio architect Jessie Sutherland and Cromwell Community Board member Bob Scott check out the virtual reality of walking through the proposed Cromwell Memorial Hall and Event Centre on Friday. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON
A 3-D virtual reality element allowed people to have a virtual tour of a space, with QR codes linking to different rooms, and a range of renders and building materials on hand for people to touch and see.

Jasmax architect Chris Jack said they really wanted to connect people with the journey and process of designing the complex.

"It’s been a long history for Cromwell and the community, for this project, so there’s lots of information — we want to make sure people see their engagement has gone into the design and a lot of thought’s come through with that."

"We can put you inside the building ... you can be on stage and see what it’s like to be on stage in the new 400-seat auditorium, you can sit in the best seat in the house, you can have a possy in the new 40-seat boutique cinema, so you can really get a sense of the scale and the type of space."

The community drop-in sessions continued over the weekend.

The designs are also available on the CODC website and a feedback form is available.