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New Zealand Institute of Architects








About the awards programme


Through an extensive awards programme, the New Zealand Institute of Architects showcases and celebrates outstanding architects and architecture.

Architecture is a special discipline which demands creativity, specialised technical knowledge, an ability to listen to people's dreams and needs and the capacity to turn these into reality on either a large or small scale.

The New Zealand Architecture Awards programme celebrates architects who have achieved the highest standards for, and with, their clients, architects with long and distinguished careers and, through a student awards programme, young designers with considerable talent who are just starting out.

At all levels, the purpose of the awards is to:

  • Promote excellence in design and to advance the profession of architecture

  • Raise public awareness of the value of good sustainable design

  • Encourage and promote environmentally responsible practices and solutions for the enhancement of the built environment

  • Raise the standing of architects within the community and encourage informed public debate on architectural and urban design issues

New Zealand Architecture Awards

The annual New Zealand Architecture Awards play a vital role in our commitment to raise the profile of Architecture and Architects' services by showcasing and celebrating outstanding architecture. Since 1990, Resene Paints Limited has been the proud sponsor and awards partner of the NZIA. The awards programme for built works has four levels of achievement: Local Architecture Awards, New Zealand Architecture Awards, Signature Awards and the New Zealand Architecture Medal. The New Zealand Architecture Awards are open to NZIA Architect members who work in NZIA Practices. 

The awards judges assess each project in terms of the following:

  • The relationship of the building to its site, context and presence

  • The degree of consistency and completeness in expressing the relationship between concept, form and structure

  • Light, colour, texture and spatial qualities

  • Structure, construction, materials and issues of durability and detail

  • Environmental performance

  • User satisfaction, value to the client and acceptability of solutions to the brief

  • Contribution to the advancement of architecture as a discipline and the enhancement of the human spirit

Level one: Local Architecture Awards

Local Architecture Awards honour quality new architecture at a community level. They are run by the eight branches of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. Entries close in February and winners are celebrated at regional awards functions from May to June. Winning projects receive a Local Architecture Award. Projects may also receive a Resene Colour Award to recognise the powerful impact of colour in design decisions.

Level two: New Zealand Architecture Awards 

The New Zealand Architecture Awards provide a snapshot of the best of New Zealand architecture produced in a programme year and showcase the work of NZIA practices. Entries are shortlisted from the Local Architecture Award winners. The awards jury, which includes one international judge, consider entries in the following categories: Commercial Architecture, Education, Heritage, Hospitality and Retail, Housing, Housing (multi-unit), Housing (alterations and additions), Interior Architecture, Planning and Urban Design, Public Architecture, Small Project Architecture, International Architecture, Enduring Architecture

Winning projects receive a New Zealand Architecture Award at the annual New Zealand Architecture Awards dinner, typically held in late October or early November.

Level 3: Named Awards

Named Awards are conferred in the categories of Public Architecture, Commercial Architecture and Housing. The projects are recognised as outstanding projects and are celebrated above New Zealand Award level. The awards are announced and presented at the annual New Zealand Architecture Awards Dinner.

The Gold Medal

The Gold Medal is the highest honour bestowed by the New Zealand Institute of Architects. It is awarded to an individual for an outstanding contribution to the practice of architecture, demonstrated through the production of a consistently high-quality body of work over a period of time.


NZIA Central Innovation Student Design Awards

The NZIA Central Innovation Student Design Award programme acknowledges and showcases design excellence in students at all levels of study. 

The New Zealand Institute of Architects has sponsored the annual 5th Year Student Design Awards programme for more than 10 years. This competition brings together the top four projects from each of New Zealand's three schools of architecture: the University of Auckland, Unitec Department of Architecture and Victoria University of Wellington. Selection is based on a design project undertaken by all students of architecture in their final year of study. Each of the 12 finalists presents their project to a panel of judges who then assess each project and determine the top student of architecture in New Zealand, who receives a $5,000 prize. Two highly commended prizes are also awarded. All three students receive a travel prize to the value of $1,500 to use to visit Australia to meet with Australian architects and view their work.

Awards and prizes are also given to student in years 1-4 of their architectural studies at each of the three schools of architecture in New Zealand. The top student at each school in years 1-4 receives a prize of $1,000. In addition there are three other prizes of $500 for each school in each of these years. These prizes are presented at the universities' own prize giving ceremonies.

The NZIA Student Design Awards are proudly sponsored by Resene.

View award winners