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Gisborne link to wastewater building design

10 Nov 2010

Gisborne link to wastewater building design

The son of an architect who left a lasting impression on the city will soon leave his own architectural legacy. Gisborne-born Rod Glengarry, architect with Beca Architects in Auckland, has designed the buildings for the city’s new wastewater treatment plant under construction in Banks Street. He is quietly chuffed to be putting a Glengarry stamp on a Gisborne public building with an expected long life. This is his first major Gisborne project.

His father Monty Glengarry and uncle Bruce were founding members of Glengarry, Glengarry and Corson architectural practice formed in the early 1950s. It was his father’s enthusiasm that helped Rod become hooked on architecture as a career from an early age.

“The fifties and sixties were when Gisborne was growing. The company was responsible for many of Gisborne’s public buildings built during that time. My father was at his busiest when I was growing up.”

Included in Monty’s personal portfolio were the War Memorial Theatre, Edmund Campion College and the Poverty Bay Electric Power Board building in Peel Street. He also designed houses including, in the late 1950s, three at the top of Barker’s Hill – the Glengarry family home and houses for two generations of Tyermans.

Colin Pilbrow – lead architect for the H B Williams Memorial Library – joined the firm in the mid-1960s to form Glengarry, Corson and Pilbrow.

After the death of his father in 1981, Rod Glengarry put his year-old Auckland University architecture degree to use, working for 18 months with his uncle Bruce in the Gisborne practice. He later worked for some years in London, Sydney and Auckland.

He is the only family member to follow in the family’s architecture tradition but younger brother Angus followed his uncle Bruce in also gaining a property valuation degree, which he uses in his role as assets administrator at Gisborne District Council. Rod Glengarry says the wastewater treatment plant buildings are of a utilitarian design made of materials appropriate to their function. “The concept is driven by what’s happening inside the buildings – the screening hall and control buildings are tall, for instance, to deal with the processes inside.

“The buildings are designed to have a longer life than a ‘normal’ industrial building. Because of that, the materials too have a longer life. They are functional buildings made to look more interesting through a choice of several types of concrete work including exposed aggregate precast concrete panels, in situ concrete and smooth pre-cast concrete drainage fittings. These are durable and provide good weather-proofing.”

The Best for Gisborne logo has been included as a design feature in several of the buildings including the biological trickling filter tank.

Architect Rod Glengarry

Architect Rod Glengarry outside Gisborne's War Memorial Theatre, designed by his father Monty Glengarry.