The New Zealand Institute of Architects has announced nineteen architectural projects as winners of the 2013 New Zealand Architecture Awards.
The Imperial Buildings, a group of heritage buildings on Auckland’s Queen Street which have been restored and revived by Fearon Hay Architects, received this year's New Zealand Architecture Medal, which is awarded to the most outstanding of the New Zealand Architecture Award winners. Alongside the awards bestowed upon exemplary buildings, the institute’s Gold Medal for career achievement was conferred on Auckland architect Pip Cheshire.
New Zealand Architecture Medal & Heritage Award
The Imperial Buildings, Auckland
Fearon Hay Architects
The Imperial Buildings succeeds on as many levels as the complex structure seems to possess. It is a building restoration project which has had an urban revitalization effect, a commercially driven scheme which enhances the civic realm, a hermetic world which provides a public path through a city block. The generous ramped walkway from a hitherto dingy lane serves as an internal plaza which offers to pedestrians passing through and guests seated at tables intimations of the labyrinthine spaces above. The architects have not merely respected the heritage fabric of the buildings, they have reveled in the opportunity to reveal original materials and celebrate historic structure while introducing light and air into a wonderful array of working and hospitality spaces.
The Imperial Buildings also received the Heritage Award:
This exemplary project has been awarded in the heritage category, but such is its revitalizing contribution to its downtown neighborhood that its sustainable, commercial and urban design virtues could just as deservedly have been acknowledged. Buildings lost from the city’s memory have been conserved and reprogrammed to provide a richly atmospheric interior environment and connect Auckland’s main street with a rear alley that no longer has to be navigated with trepidation. The architects have rescued buildings from neglect without erasing the traces of their history.
Cloudy Bay Shack, Blenheim
Paul Rolfe Architects and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects
An artfully contrived approach leads to an exquisitely sited and thoughtfully planned building that complements the oenological standards of an iconic New Zealand winery. The four-bedroom guesthouse is sophisticated in its design, dramatic in its appearance, exacting in its detailing and restrained in its material expression. The clever sequencing of a visitor’s progress through the building nicely postpones the gratification offered by the veranda-like living area which opens onto a sloping lawn and a prospect of the Richmond Ranges.
Geyser, Parnell, Auckland
Patterson Associates Ltd
A timeless type is given contemporary form in this commercial project which breaks down a large office complex into a humanly-scaled arrangement of five sub-buildings. Organized around a courtyard, and navigated via lanes and stairs, Geyser reads as an intimate hilltop village, unusually well-adapted to the local climate. Although the parking structure receives typically considerate treatment from the architect, the building encourages perambulation and, with its naturally lit and well-ventilated work spaces, provides for pleasurable occupation. Passers-by are offered tantalizing glimpses into the building’s sheltered interior: intrigue is a rare quality in New Zealand’s urban environment, and much to be welcomed.
Geyser has also received a Sustainability Award:
As the recipient of New Zealand’s only 6 Green Star (Design) rating, Geyser significantly advances the cause of sustainable architecture. Passive environmental design principles and computer-controlled systems combine to provide pleasant and comfortable working and circulation spaces. Natural daylight is admitted deep into the interior, and a twin-wall facade generates natural heating, by trapping warm air, and cooling ventilation, via convection currents. A manually operated inner facade allows tenants some discretion in controlling their own working environments.
Telecom Central, Wellington
On a formerly unremarkable but centrally located site in Wellington’s CBD the architect has realised a challenging proposition as a building with a strong urban presence. Two existing buildings and a vacant rear lot have been converted into a 35,000m2 building, 14 stories high and a block deep. The no-frills fit-out is relieved by a dramatic central atrium that enlivens the interior, and with its angled glass facade the 5 Green Star (Design) building offers a striking face to the city. A further civic contribution is made by the pedestrian passage that runs through the building, connecting Willis and Boulcott Streets.
St Cuthbert’s College Performing Arts Centre, Epsom, Auckland
This building of strong presence and calm disposition provides excellent teaching and performing spaces and also plays an important place-making role on St Cuthbert’s suburban campus. In designing a materially expressive but not overly dramatic building, the architects have resisted any urge to exhibitionism; they have recognized that the Performing Arts Centre exists to support the performance skills of the school’s students. As well as clearly focusing on this goal, the architects have, through the careful massing and siting of the building, realized the school’s intention to conduct a well-mannered relationship with its residential neighbors.
School of Music, University of Auckland
Hill Manning Mitchell
The School of Music at the University of Auckland is an inventive and joyful work of architecture that, 30 years after its construction, continues to communicate a sense of delight. Presenting a wall to the din of a busy road, the building opens up around a light-filled interior courtyard in a witty and knowing Post-modern take on the traditional Oxbridge College quadrangle. Adroit planning makes for an elegant passage though the building’s sociable spaces, especially via clever and well-proportioned stairs. It is to be hoped that the University recognizes the value of this gem in its possession, and takes care to ensure its survival.
Lake Hawea Courtyard House
Glamuzina Paterson Architects
On an exposed subdivided site in a stunning landscape this house inverts the traditional New Zealand residential model to provide a haven against the elements and the attentions of neighbors. Chiseled in form and grounded in presence the house reads as a contemporary type sufficiently confident to display his less sensitive side. In lieu of a big budget, the architects have extracted a full return from the house’s courtyard organization and from the sculptural use of seconds-quality bricks, irregularly laid to to cast shadows across the exterior walls of the house, its courtyard and an adjacent walled garden.
Regent Park Apartments for City Housing WCC
Designgroup Stapleton Elliott
The architects have worked hard, and successfully, to design a City-funded apartment complex that meets a demanding brief and a tight budget, and that should raise expectations of a sometimes traduced type. Social housing necessarily entails modest amenity, but this project demonstrates it is possible to reconcile economy and generosity. Client and architect have not treated this commission as a social experiment; living areas are spacious, kitchens, especially, testify to a sensitive awareness of resident’s needs; and color is imaginatively deployed. A central space in which children can play testifies to a commitment to community and safety; well-monitored through-paths offer connections to the wider neighborhood.
S House, Mt Eden, Auckland
Glamuzina Paterson Architects
A strong idea and the close collaboration of architect and landscaper have resulted in an adventurous house that takes an innovative approach to the inner-suburban family dwelling. Organized around its front and rear courtyard gardens, the house snakes down its long, narrow site; adjusted to the uneven topography, the house is positioned to connect with its immediate landscape and to be screened from less advantageous views of neighboring houses. Like all buildings, the house might have its faults; the enthusiastic and admirable embrace of architectural possibilities is not one of them.
Waiake Beach House, Torbay, Auckland
Stevens Lawson Architects Ltd
This house is a clean and clear response to its context and a suitably sculptural expression of its brief. On a constricted and highly visible site, and working to a relatively modest budget, the architects have designed a house of dramatic form, staunch to the street, but encouraging of intimate occupation. The bold use of simple materials emphasizes the building’s solidity; excellent detailing enhances the effect of the material discipline. The result is a clever cave, right by a suburban bay.
Solar Decathlon 2011: First Light House, by Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Architecture and Design
Designed to meet the exacting performance standards of an international student competition in which it was highly placed, Victoria University’s First Light House was a totally engaging project. The Victoria University students made a very impressive attempt to reconcile a typological narrative and mandated sustainable features with architecture. Given the variety of criteria that had to be satisfied, it is understandable that the building, in a design sense, struggled to transcend the sum of its parts. However, it is a significant achievement for a New Zealand design team, of whatever vintage, to produce a building for public show on The Mall in Washington, DC, and the authors of the First Light House are to be thoroughly commended.
Planning and Urban Design
Karanga Plaza and Kiosk, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland
Clarity, simplicity and sufficiency characterize this urban design project which, both in its conceptualization and its execution, sets a high standard for the future development of an important Auckland waterfront precinct. The connection of the plaza to the water via well-scaled stairs is nicely handled, and the restrained incorporation of industrial elements such as the kiosk’s shipping containers underscores the precinct’s historic and residual function as a working wharf without belaboring the point. Above all, the architects have realized that the plaza exists to facilitate occupation without prescribing use.
The Buchan Group
A project animated by an enterprising spirit and realized through a burst of collaborative endeavor has generated a social dividend to Christchurch well as a commercial return to the city’s inner-city retailers. The Re:START container shopping precinct is an imaginative experiment in urban revitalization, and by virtue of its human scale and its courtyards and intimate alleyways it offers a demonstrably popular model for the Christchurch rebuild. Although designed as a temporary and inexpensive solution, the colorful and vibrant mini-neighborhood evinces many of the qualities of good urban design.
ASB Sports Centre, Kilbirnie, Wellington
Tennent + Brown Architects & SKM Architects in association
The ASB Sports Centre is an elegant and imaginative solution to the challenges of a tough building type and a bracing Wellington site. The structure is elemental, but the design lends it grace; the rhythmic progression of the concrete panels and the tapered edge of the roof exemplify the architects’ determination to produce a distinctive building that makes a positive contribution to the public realm. Inside, the building is light, airy and well-ventilated. The material palette, simple but considered, complements the building’s form and fits its purpose. This is a big building of great benefit to the community, and its evident success is a tribute to the ambition and vision of its architects.
Te Hononga – Christchurch Civic Building
Athfield Architects Limited
Generous and inspiring public spaces have been wrested from a solid but not particularly distinguished existing building to provide a reassuringly impressive administrative center for the city of Christchurch. The facade treatment is clever and enlivening, and the lobby treats visiting citizens and council staff to an experience, rare in New Zealand, of a big, well-contained volume. Sculptural elements in the lower levels complement the building’s muscular deportment.
The project also received a Sustainability Award:
Te Hononga – Christchurch Civic Building is an impressive exercise in adaptive re-use and, given Christchurch’s recent circumstances, an especially appropriate and timely exemplar of its genre. Not only does the building substantially occupy an existing structure, thus saving energy embodied in the original construction, it also benefits from the architects’ determination – recognized by the award of a 6 Green Star (Built) rating – to reduce operating energy to a minimum. With its innovative and robust technology, its imaginative reworking of interior spaces, and its safe and solid public presence, the building declares the city’s faith in Christchurch’s sustainability.
Rotoroa Shelter & Exhibition Centre, Rotoroa Island, Auckland
Pearson & Associates Architects Ltd
Excellently and sensitively sited, the Rotoroa Shelter & Exhibition Centre is a strong and simple presence on the landscape and thus a sympathetic built expression of Rotoroa Island’s history as a Salvation Army rehabilitation center. The fall of the roof echoes the pitch of the nearby trees, vertical battens impart depth and shadow to the form and the ramp and large porch provides a generous transition from outside to in. The design of the building reveals not only the architect’s strong understanding of how a building occupies a site, but also a fine appreciation of how people occupy space.
Whakatane Library & Exhibition Centre – Te Kōputu a Te Whanga a Toi
Irving Smith Jack Architects Ltd
Given an abandoned building and a modest budget the architects, working closely with a committed client, have produced an important cultural destination, combining library, museum and exhibition spaces, and have revived a run-down Whakatane retail precinct. Resisting any urge to over-elaboration, the architects have focused on doing a few things very well. A new canopy gives the building an urban scale, enlivened edges animate the adjacent public area, and an intelligent sequencing of interior spaces provides a generously proportioned and democratic environment. The architects’ pragmatic and sympathetic decisiveness extends to the exhibition stands and displays which they designed.
Small Project Architecture
Hut on Sleds, Whangapoua, Coromandel Peninsula
Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects (Auckland) Ltd
If brevity is the soul of wit, then this little beach house is bound to put a smile on the stoniest of faces. Putatively sustainable elements such as the ‘sleds’ on which it sits and the wheel that offers a manual option for winching up the shutter on the beachside facade may be more gestural than functional, but in a way the building’s conceits only add to its delights. Whimsical in its verticality and Lilliputian in its spatial allocation, the building is a jeu d’esprit that must immediately relax its occupants into holiday mode.
Wellington Zoo Hub & Kamalas Pavilion
Assembly Architects Limited
An adventure in architecture and fabrication, this project evinces its authors’ enthusiasm, intellectual curiosity and determination to realize the full potential of the brief and extract the maximum return from the budget. The innovative and painstaking form-making of the pavilion frame demonstrates a strong and generative interest in materials and the craft of assembly, and the benefits of collaborating with an engineer as talented as Alistair Cattanach. Also handled well is the link between the pavilion and the former elephant house, a building redesigned to work hard so that its neighbor has the space to display its elegance.