A conventional office unit has been transformed into a double-height architectural space for a new private gym. Situated in Freemans Bay, Auckland, WILLPOWER by Will Garrick is kitted out with state-of-the-art training gear, a physio studio and a nutrition clinic. It's an integrated fitness environment that needed to feel inspiring and fun to train in.
'People are really surprised by the expansion in height when they walk in,' says Garrick. 'By cutting back the second floor, we gained all this height and space, which is exactly what you need for a gym environment.'
By removing over half of the original mezzanine, architect Julian Guthrie has flooded the long, narrow footprint with natural light and provided a generous volume for the training area. The existing staircase is linked to the (now) much smaller mezzanine by a timber and steel bridge, creating an exciting design feature out of a planning predicament.
'I have worked with a mix of neutrally toned materials to create an industrial feel but still with a sense of quality and warmth,' explains Guthrie. 'Black rubber flooring grounds the space, creating a comfortable and durable training surface. This is offset with white-painted concrete side walls, accented by feature walls of textured zinc-grey fibre cement, and exposed structural pine flooring and plywood.'
The boutique training studio has a contemporary, high-quality feel to accentuate the high-tech equipment it contains. Finishes had to be robust, as appropriate for a gym, but still add to the design aesthetic and meet the budget. The grey, coated fibre cement feature walls are contrasted with clear-finished ply, adding contrast and variety.
'We were looking for cost-effective wall finishes that had texture and visual interest to offset the simplicity of the other base materials,' says Guthrie. 'The design demonstrates how quality custom interior architecture can be created within a prosaic space, and how 'off the shelf' utilitarian products and finishes can combine to great architectural effect.'