Crafted timber pillars point to mountain at new airport terminal

Six specially crafted timber pillars will highlight a view of Mt Taranaki for visitors to the region.

The pillars have been installed in New Plymouth Airport’s new terminal, forming the heart of a new gateway to Taranaki.

Each pillar is 5.4 metres high, and they were installed in pairs, defining the central concourse of the new building and holding up the roof.

The pillars will also help to open up sight-lines in the building so visitors have an uninterrupted view to Mt Taranaki on one side, and out to the sea on the other, following the ancient Puketapu trail from maunga to coast.

The crafted timber pillars roll off the production line for inspection

The timber came from pine logs that were carefully selected for their straightness and the absence of knots, New Plymouth Airport Terminal redevelopment project director Gaye Batty said.

“We decided on timber as an alternative to steel columns because it gives warmth to the design and complements the internal artwork that has been created in partnership with Puketapu hapū to celebrate our unique local culture,” she said.

The logs were sliced into full length planks and the best-looking planks were laminated together for strength.  These were then turned on a lathe to form cylindrical beams, then turned a second time to form a distinctive cigar-like shape.

Clelands Construction staff attach the timber pillars to a base at the new terminal site

New Plymouth Airport chief executive Wayne Wootton said the new terminal was opportunity to better connect Taranaki with New Zealand and the world.

“We’re looking forward to being able to offer a world-class travel experience to the 600,000 people who use the airport each year,” he said.

The terminal will be up and running by next year and will be completed within the budget of $28.7 million.

The airport is a commercial operation and the terminal redevelopment project will be entirely funded from Airport revenues, including landing charges, commercial rents and car parking charges. No rates money is being used.