Ellerslie Function Room
Strengthening / Restoration
80 Ascot Ave, Remuera
Auckland Racing Club
Young & Richards
Afterthoughts can bear beautiful fruit, as shown by Ellerslie’s new function room. Conceived as a variation to the contract after Haydn & Rollett had already started work on a $6 million upgrade of the racecourse, the function room project has transformed the surviving third of Ellerslie’s 1913 totalisator into a stunning space for large events, clinched by a soaring hipped ceiling hung with hundreds of lights.
That ceiling, undeniably the star of this fitout, was essentially reconstructed using kauri beams and sarking stripped from the demolished two-thirds of the tote building. (To avoid detracting from the ceiling’s showpiece qualities, ducting and other services were installed out of sight under the engineered timber floor.) In the same spirit, the original brick interior has been left untouched, other than for a fresh plaster finish. Likewise, the lowset windows that run the length of the room are another relic of the building’s original function – it was through these slot-like apertures that raceday punters placed their bets.
New features include a series of plinths at intervals down one wall. Created to disguise seismic strengthening features, they’re topped with handsome timber and are a potential display space for trophies. Elsewhere, the Haydn & Rollett joinery team has fashioned a sleek black and gold corner bar, complete with a textured granite benchtop. A small kitchen and servery has been included in an extension to the main building.
The guiding principle for the larger revamp of Ellerslie was to allow the public to get closer to the action. That criteria has been satisfied here by including outsized glazing at the far end of the room. On raceday, guests in the function room can watch the horses being led past on their way to and from the stables. Dinner and a show.