Niutao Community Hall – Tuvalu

Consultants: Blankspace Architectural / BCD Group / Offsite Design

Design and Supply

TimberLab have been working alongside community representatives since early 2020 on the design and supply of a new hall for the Niutao Island community.

Situated on Tuvalu’s main Island Funafuti, the brief was to create a multipurpose facility to meet the future needs of the wider community. Sustainability and durability were key drivers in the decision to use Glulam as the structural material of choice.

With a 1200m2 footprint, the project combined a main hall with a focus on sports and youth activities. The floor plan of the hall was designed so this space could be used as either a full-size basketball court or 2 x volleyball courts with space either side for spectators. At one end of the hall a large community kitchen, storage room and conference rooms were integrated into the design.


Glulam Portal Structure

Traditionally, Pacific Island projects have been designed with concrete column and ring beams to withstand the harsh salt air environment and hurricane force winds. But there was a real desire to improve sustainability and so by adopting a Glulam Portal structure, we were able to significantly reduce the amount of concrete used in the project, preserving the local coral and sand resources.


Natural light and ventilation were necessary to reduce the need for the use of power. The lower walls of the hall were designed with larger opening doors and a highlight roof to the full length of the hall with louvers will allow plenty of natural ventilation. Clear roofing is being used at selected locations on the main roof to provide plenty of natural light.

The structural design allows for future installation of a solar power system and the storm-water system incorporates rainwater tanks; overall resulting in a very sustainable project.

One-stop Shop – Auckland to Tuvalu

Having just completed the manufacture of the structural elements, we are ready to start shipping to site.

Our supply scope combined all framing elements such as Glulam portals, rafters, beams, bracing and fascia, LVL and solid timber purlins, mullion, girts and wall framing; all custom made and proprietary metalwork items and even the Colorsteel roofing and rainwater package and TG+V ceiling linings.

Being able to provide a one stop shop for supply is essential for projects in the Pacific where local supply of materials can be limited.

Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA)

TimberLab engaged with NZ consultants, Blankspace Architectural and BCD group on behalf of the client to provide the concept and development through to final design. 

Offsite Design were also contracted to complete the 3D modelling and co-ordination as well as structural documentation to bring the design through to a “For Construction” stage and assist with manufacturing information.

As always, a big part of our focus during design is DfMA; the structural connections on the project have been designed with ease of assembly in mind and with the understanding of limited lifting machinery available.

We have provided a comprehensive set of working drawings with numbered parts, corresponding lists and descriptions to enable an efficient build process on site and will continue to work with the local team on site through to completion.

We look forward to seeing the start of assembly in the New Year.