Ōpuke Thermal Pools & Spa
Located in Methven, Canterbury, the Ōpuke Thermal Pools & Spa is a tranquil oasis of relaxation. A major tourism attraction for the area, Ōpuke incorporates elements of sustainability, architectural vision and innovation. In 2023, the Ōpuke Thermal Pools & Spa project was awarded the Excellence in Concrete Landscaping award at the Concrete NZ Nauhria Awards.
The complex was conceived as a journey through nature, emulating the context of the Canterbury Plains as they meet the majestic alps, and the braided rivers and wind, down from the mountains to the sea. The vision for the pools was to minimise use of natural resources and deliver world class spa treatments that combine Māoritanga and contemporary methods for users whilst benefiting the local community.
Concrete was used in all part of the works and was a significant decorative design feature. Overall, more than 1,000m³ of concrete was used. The cave system is a major element of Ōpuke. The complex shapes were formed using 1T bags of sawdust as the backform. Reinforcement was then placed and shotcrete sprayed and finished to form the intricate surfaces. Some 122m³ of specifically-designed shotcrete was used in this element, textured to replicate that of a natural cave.
Coloured, exposed aggregates – as decorative concrete – finishes were used extensively around the facility. The concrete was detailed and finished to a high degree to suit the premium feel of the facility, using coloured products that were selected because of their consistency and durability.
The natural environment dictated that sustainable materials were a must, so local aggregates were used throughout the concrete structure and flooring. The concrete floor also works as a heat sink to generate thermal mass.