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New Zealand Institute of Architects









Tom Dobinson, 2014 Student Design Awards winner

The winner of the 2014 Graphisoft Student Design Awards is Tom Dobinson, Victoria University of Wellington. Tom’s final year project was entitled Wharf Dwellers.

Wharf Dwellers – An Exposé of Lyttelton

The scheme is an investigation of the character of the port town of Lyttelton, by a student who grew up there, as well as a proposal for overcoming the physical separation that now exists between the town and the port. The tri-partite work establishes a ‘design language’, imagines a house that would suit the ‘persona’ of artist Bill Hammond – a local ‘fringe-dwelling maverick’ – and proposes a design for a public wharf that would surmount a strip of port land and so allow citizens to reach the coast.


Tom’s proposal to open up public access to Lyttelton’s privatised wharf, and at the same time explore the town’s ‘underbelly’ and the persona of one of its distinguished inhabitants, the artist Bill Hammond, is inventive, curious and assured. The scheme is the very impressive product of a highly iterative process. Clearly and legibly presented, and well put together, it reveals its author’s talent for analysis, skill in assembly, and deep interest in the social and architectural condition of his hometown.

Other finalists