2017 New Zealand Architecture Awards and Gold Medalist announced
10 November 2017
Twenty-two buildings and structures have won awards in New Zealand’s premier architectural design competition. The winners in the 2017 New Zealand Architecture Awards have been announced at an Awards dinner at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre.
At the same event, Auckland architect Andrew Patterson received the New Zealand Institute of Architects Gold Medal. The Gold Medal, the Institute’s highest personal honour, recognises outstanding career achievement, and is awarded to only one architect in any year.
The New Zealand Architecture Awards, a programme run by the New Zealand Institute of Architects with the support of Resene, recognises the best work across all the types of projects designed by New Zealand’s architects.
Fifty-one buildings, in locations spanning the country from the Bay of islands to Queenstown, were shortlisted in the 2017 New Zealand Architecture Awards, and visited by a jury led by Arrowtown architect Louise Wright and also comprising Auckland architects Lance Herbst and Jack McKinney, and Brisbane-based architect Kerry Clare.
“The award-winners set a high benchmark for architectural achievement in New Zealand,” Wright said. “They demonstrate the value architects add to building projects and the benefits to clients and the wider community of well-designed, fit for purpose buildings.”
“I think New Zealanders have increasingly high expectations of the buildings in which they live, work and study, and the cities they inhabit, and rightly so. The quality of the built environment makes a real difference to people’s lives, and it is up to architects, and everyone in the building industry, to make the most of every construction opportunity.”
“The projects which have won New Zealand Architecture Awards are various, but they have one thing in common. Whether they are houses or offices or schools or churches, they are all making a real difference to the lives of the people who use them.”
Two New Zealand Architecture Awards, for a house north of Kerikeri and a lodge at Kinloch, went to Patterson Associates, which had even more reason to celebrate at the Awards dinner as the firm’s founder, Andrew Patterson, also received the NZIA Gold Medal.
Institute of Architects’ president Christina van Bohemen said Patterson richly deserved the honour.
“Over the past twenty years, Andrew Patterson has designed some of the most innovative and visually striking buildings in New Zealand,” van Bohemen said.
“He has pushed the boundaries of what is possible in New Zealand architecture, and his work is often surprising and always arresting.”
Patterson’s recent portfolio includes such significant buildings as the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre and the Geyser Building in Auckland. Other notable projects include the New Zealand Pavilion at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, the Hills Clubhouse in Queenstown, and the Cumulus office building and the waterfront Stratis apartments in Auckland.
“Andrew has also designed numerous virtuoso private houses,” van Bohemen said. “His record, as evidenced by a string of architecture awards, is extraordinarily strong. He is a most worthy recipient of the 2017 Gold Medal.”.
In the New Zealand Architecture Awards, four of the winning projects received further acknowledgement in the form of category awards named for outstanding New Zealand architects.
The John Scott Award for Public Architecture went to Bishop Selwyn Chapel, a pavilion extension to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, Auckland, designed by Fearon Hay Architects. “The exquisite chapel is a sensitive insertion into a site with two strong but disparate existing buildings,” the awards jury said. “The ambition of the concept has been matched by the quality of its realisation. The chapel is one of the outstanding works of recent New Zealand architecture.”
The Ted McCoy Award for Education was presented to Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana, a visitor centre and “living building” project developed by Ngāi Tūhoe and designed by Tennent and Brown Architects.
“Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana is the product of a holistic process in which sensitive design and considered siting are complemented by a thoroughgoing commitment to sustainable principles,” the jury said. “The building is an impressive expression of Ngāi Tūhoe’s identification with their land and its history, and an excellent medium for the transmission of knowledge about a place and its people to visitors from around the world.”
The Sir Ian Athfield Award for Housing went to a house in the Auckland suburb of Point Chevalier, designed by Guy Tarrant. The house – the architect’s own – is “a welcome departure from suburban convention”, the jury said.
“It engages boldly with the street in order to provide a courtyard plan ideally suited to Auckland’s climate, and a strong but generous public presence goes hand in hand with a sheltered and most liveable private realm.”
The Sir Miles Warren Award for Commercial Architecture went to Patterson Associates’ The Lodge at Kinloch Club, a building that provides hospitality and upmarket accommodation at a golf course near Taupo.
The jury praised the architects for taking “full advantage of a spectacular site and creating a richly atmospheric building that offers a luxurious guest experience – the massing of the building, positioning of views and detailing have a common excellence.”
New Zealand Architecture Awards
The Awards jury evaluated a large range of building types sited in very different contexts and serving a variety of functions.
“Award categories blurred as complex briefs merged projects from one category to another,” jury convenor Louise Wright said. “For example, one award-winning house is also a workplace and a gallery, complete with a coffee kiosk. Some public buildings also have a commercial function, and some private buildings have a public dimension due to their highly visible urban location.”
Three awards went to religious buildings and one went to a building – Lesieli Tonga Auditorium in Māngere – that serves a church congregation. Twelve winning buildings are in the Auckland region (which includes Northland), and six are in the Waikato / Bay of Plenty.
The single most-awarded practice was Auckland’s Fearon Hay Architects, which took out three New Zealand Architecture Awards, as well as the John Scott Award.
In the Public Architecture category there were two winners, Bishop Selwyn Chapel (see above) and Chapel Street Centre by Dalman Architects, a replacement church for the Methodist community in north Christchurch. This church is “open, transparent and welcoming”, the awards jury said. “It does not just communicate its function, but invites observation of the congregation at worship.”
All three Commercial Architecture Award winners are from Auckland, and each deals with heritage concerns in a sensitive and sophisticated manner. Peddle Thorp Architects won an award for Australis Nathan, an historic Britomart building on which the architects applied the centuries-old plaster inscription technique called sgraffto to one façade.
The awards jury applauded this “exercise in historicist whimsy, which is unexpected and delightful in Auckland”.
“The reworking of the buildings adds a new face to a restored Customs Street heritage building that, after more than a century of single frontage existence, found its backside exposed to view from a recently created public square.”
Mason Bros., an old Wynyard Quarter warehouse building converted by Warren and Mahoney Architects, was praised by the jury for its successful reconciliation of several design imperatives, including earthquake strengthening and the provision of “open and fluid” tenancies.
“The insertion of a long, suspended box of workspaces within the existing structure, the passage of a generous laneway along the length of the building, and the admission of natural light through the retained sawtooth roof combine to produce a spacious, airy and user-friendly environment,” the jury said.
The Kauri Timber Building by Fearon Hay Architects is the third winner of a Commercial Architecture Award. Commenting on the Fanshawe Street building, the jury said: “Old and new co-exist harmoniously in this admirable piece of cityscaping that makes a staunch, if locally lonely, stand alongside a totally car-dominated street that follows the old Auckland shoreline.”
Fearon Hay Architects also received an Interior Architecture Award for Faraday Street Studio, the practice’s own office in a refurbished Parnell warehouse. The jury commended the manner in which “adept deployment and finessing of industrial materials yields a sense of tough luxury”.
Strachan Group Architects received an Interior Architecture Award for its own Kingsland studio and workshop. The jury said the project displayed “a deep understanding of how buildings are put together, materials deployed, and problems solved, along with typical inventiveness, commitment to sustainable principles and experiment with prefabrication”.
Two projects received awards for Heritage Architecture. Warren and Mahoney Architects’ work on the Christchurch Arts Centre Clock Tower & Great Hall is notable, the jury said, for a painstaking attention to detail and the faithful replication of the existing building fabric.
“It was important for the city that the Arts Centre Clock Tower & Great Hall were brought back to life: the excellence of the buildings’ restoration matches their status in civic life and communal memory.”
The second Heritage winner, South Bloc in Hamilton by Edwards White Architects, is a building “from the Ministry of Works’ 1960s heyday” that has been “liberated of later accretions and awkward re-workings to reveal the original design and acknowledge the integrity of the original materials”, the jury said.
Among the three Education Award-winning projects is Tarawera High School. Designed by RTA Studio, the Kawerau school provides the Ministry of Education with “a lot of architecture for its money”, the jury said.
“Within the tight budget, the architects found a way to provide for a massive overhanging roof that connects the new school’s buildings, which are organised around a central wharenui and oriented to significant geographical and cultural landmarks.”
A university building in Hamilton also impressed the jury and received an Education award. The New Law & Management Building, University of Waikato by Opus Architecture is carved into a sloping site, linked by a green roof and organised around a central, sunken courtyard.
“The building provides the tertiary institute with a strong urban presence,” the jury said. “Its solidity conveys permanence and seriousness, while the control of light and movement, and the provision of green breathing spaces and natural ventilation demonstrates an understanding of and sympathy for user well-being.”
Auckland- and Lyttelton-based Bull O’Sullivan Architecture is one of a handful of practices that won double awards this year. The firm received a Hospitality Award for the community-funded and built Lesieli Tonga Auditorium, in Māngere, Auckland.
“Under the vast blanket of a frangipani-patterned ceiling – the building’s singular gesture – more than 1,500 congregants can gather for feasts and festivities, celebrations and commemorations. The robust building admirably meets its users’ needs, and is testament to its architect’s determination and the depth of his community engagement,” the jury said.
Bull O’Sullivan Architecture’s second award was in the Housing category, in which four awards were made to new homes of varied size, scale and cost. The firm’s “beguiling” Hamilton Family Home in Arrowtown demonstrated the architects “understanding of the rhythms of family life and local climate”, Wright said. The jury praised the “democratic instinct of architect and clients” evident in the sensitive positioning of house in relation to the street.
Cambridge architect Christopher Beer was awarded for creating “a resolutely urban-looking house” in the CBD of his provincial town. The planning of Beer’s Town House integrates several courtyards, public and private family areas, an artist’s studio and a hole-in-the-wall coffee kiosk.
A Bay of Islands house called Paoneone was praised by the jury for the rigorous and disciplined approach by architects Patterson Associates: “On an idyllic site, considerable resource has supported a single-minded pursuit of quality.”
One award was made in the category of Housing – Alterations and Additions. The Herne Bay House Alteration designed by Gerrad Hall Architects gives “an imaginative twist to the familiar tale of the villa extension”, the jury said. “Two goals have been successfully pursued: to add a distinctive lower floor to an existing villa, and to connect the resultant living areas to the rear garden and lawn.”
Two projects received Small Project Architecture Awards. MOAA Architects’ St John’s Church in Hamilton, an extension of an existing church, is “an elegant, beautifully proportioned little building”, the jury said. “It offers its users a calm, protective environment encouraging of contemplation but also sympathetic to more active occupation.”
A pavilion, originally intended by Stevens Lawson Architects to be erected at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale and eventually built – with the assistance of students from Unitec – for this year’s Waiheke Island Sculpture on the Gulf Exhibition, also received a Small Project Architecture Award. In the pavilion’s design the jury discerned bi-cultural allusions to whare and gable.
And it was a landmark Auckland tower that received this year’s sole award for Enduring Architecture, a category that recognises buildings of at least 25 years of age that retain their quality and utility.
Designed by Peddle Thorp Aitken and completed in 1992, the graceful high-rise at 151 Queen Street, Auckland, formerly called the Fay Richwhite Building, “a monument to a particularly febrile period in the history of local capitalism”, the jury said.
“Time has shown that the 29-story tower is, in terms of its design and construction quality, architectural detailing and provision of amenity, head and shoulders above nearly all similar buildings of its era, and most that have been built since then.”