Sunday, 3 August 2014

Smithell's Gymnasium

The Smithells Gymnasiun, a wonderful piece of architecture situated at the heart of the dunedin university area. Although dated, being built in the 60-70's, it seems to blend in seamlessly with the constantly changing and altered structures placed alongside it. Pale pink salmon cinderblocks juxtapositional to calming blue window frames are similar to the contrasting colours pasted onto flats stereotypical of dunedin culture, but unlike such houses with frilly decoration and ornamental design are the brutal and precise edges of the smithells gymnasium.

Inside is the polar opposite of the exterior, with warm glowing lights complementing the wooden floor. Concrete blocks of varying proportion extend from the walls, creating shadows the twist and play over each other, these become a motif in the design of the building with the windows and ceiling structure sharing similar features. A staircase, fully visible upon entry and flooded with light from a overarching window leads to an above balcony when the gymnasium in its entirety can be viewed. Even the seating and fixtures from the above floor echo from the ideologies of modernism with simple wood and metal construction fixed together, clean and flush.

Altogether a wonderful building

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