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2017 writing awards: overview

Organised by the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA), with the support of the Warren Architects’ Education Charitable Trust, the competition promotes longer form – not too long! – writing about architecture.

There are two entry categories: open and secondary school. The winning entries in both categories, along with the three highly commended entries, are published on this website. Ten essays were chosen for publication in the book, 10 Stories: writing about architecture / 3. (Auckland’s Diocesan School for Girls deserves its own commendation for supplying three of the essays in the book.)

Competition entrants were asked to write about a building or architectural site, of any size or scale, and answer the question: Why does it have significance to you?

A personal question naturally drew personal responses, and many of the essays were dedicated to the writers’ own family houses. Some of these domestic pieces are in this book, and in them (and also in others that deal with more exotic subjects – a Palladian villa in the north of Italy, for example, a church in the Waikato, the near-legendary house in Auckland of a much-loved architect) there is a moving and often poignant appreciation of the emotions architecture can evoke.

Evidently, architecture can be a buttress of memory and a shaper of mood.

The 2017 Warren Trust Awards were judged by a panel comprising Nicola Legat, Massey University Press publisher; Chris Barton, architecture critic and Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland School of Architecture; and John Walsh, NZIA Communications Manager and author of several books on New Zealand architecture.

The NZIA thanks all those who entered the 2017 Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing – the essay is a challenging as well as rewarding form – and encourages anyone interested in the craft of writing and the subject of architecture to enter the competition in the future.

John Walsh
New Zealand Institute of Architects