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From a living laboratory to a subterranean attraction: award-winning design comes in all shapes and forms

From a living laboratory to a subterranean attraction: award-winning design comes in all shapes and forms

An eco classroom and the already heavily-awarded Waikato Cave Visitors Centre are among two of the winners at Friday's 2010 Waikato Bay of Plenty Architecture Awards. Having received a total of 42 submissions, nothing was off limits at the event, with everything from budget to top-end designs honoured. 

The judging panel convenor for the awards was Hamilton Architect John Sexton. He was joined on the jury by Architect Mark Wassung, also of Hamilton, and Taupo Architect Sean Harris. The lay juror was Monica Holt, communications manager at Hamilton City Council. 

As well as visiting all properties, the judges met with the architects and clients. The buildings were judged against a series of key criteria including their contribution to the advancement of architecture as a discipline and enhancement of the human spirit. And now, onto the winners... 

Fussell House by Richard Priest Architecture 

The Fussell House, by Richard Priest Architecture, on the edge of the Purangi River estuary at Whitianga, was a winner in Residential Architecture – Houses, praised as a “fascinating house” which is “impressive in concept and form”. 

Jurors admired the “bow-tie shaped” floor plan, with living areas overlooking Mercury Bay and agreed that “the client’s request for a signature styled, one-of-a-kind home has been delivered with interest”. 

Hukanui EnviroClassroom (“The Living Room”) by Antanas Procuta Architects. 

The Hukanui EnviroClassroom  “The Living Room” at Hukanui School in Hamilton, by Antanas Procuta Architects, was the only winner in the Sustainable Architecture Category. 

The classroom, hailed by jurors as “groundbreaking” was designed and built with input from students at every stage and includes unique sustainable features. 

Jurors described it as a “living laboratory that enables students to understand building environments, passive systems and how these systems can be modified to achieve a healthy and comfortable space”. 

Waitomo Glowworm Cave Visitor Centre by Architecture Workshop 

The extensive Waitomo Glowworm Cave Visitor Centre, which includes an innovative woven canopy, charmed jurors with its organic form and the way it flows beneath the road. 

Jurors said the project, by Architecture Workshop, a winner in the Commercial Architecture category, reinforced the idea of “a simple lightweight sky shell to act as a counterpoint to the main subterranean attraction”.  

Sean Harris. says: “The experience starts as soon as you arrive. The visitor centre is part of the whole journey into the caves.” 

Commercial Architecture winners 

Commercial Architecture winners also included The Fraser Papamoa project, by Ambienti Architects, a “flexible” sales office for the Coast Papamoa Beach  residential development at Mount Maunganui which was seen as an innovative approach to marketing offices and showroom. 

The twin level pavilion, admired by jurors for its “crisp clean lines” has been designed so that it can be transformed, when required, into a community facility – potentially with café, shops and offices.

The APL Training Facility in Hamilton, by Edwards White Architects, is an extensive renovation of an existing building to provide a training centre for a national business. 

Jurors said that the sustainable approach taken to the design had given the previously run down building a new lease of life, making it “a significant visual presence in an otherwise haphazard streetscape”. 

The Village Centre, Lauriston Park, by BSW Architects, was admired as “an instantly recognisable entry point” to the Cambridge retirement village providing a “dramatic counterpoint within the peaceful and restful environment”. 

Public Architecture 

Public Architecture winners also included Mount Maunganui College Resource and Research Centre Redevelopment by Dimensions Ltd. 

Jurors said that creative planning, major renovation and extensive refurbishment had transformed the original outmoded library to provide a flexible facility that had assumed a new identity and prime position on the college campus. 

Mr Harris said jurors were impressed by features such as flexible “study pods” within the building, its multiple uses, including as a Year 13 common room and the clear enjoyment of students using the facility. 

The Glenview Primary School – New Library by Peddle Thorp Architects (Hamilton) was also a winner in the category. Jurors described it as attractive and welcoming, answering its design brief for “something unique” and enjoying “an invigorating and engaging ambience”. 

Residential Architecture – Houses 

A contemporary Country House, North Waikato, at Tuakau, by Kamermans & Co Architects was seen as a “reinterpretation of the ‘New Zealand farm shed’ vernacular,” capturing the sun and majestic views of the Waikato River valley. 

Orkney, a distinctive multi-level home at Mount Maunganui by Daniel Marshall Architect, captured jurors’ attention for its flair and imagination and “sharply raking walls that mimic the prows of ships on the nearby harbour”. 

A Coromandel Beach House, by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects (Auckland) has been likened to a “jewellery box”.  

Jurors noted the way “projections and cut outs punctuate the envelope, variously admitting light and capturing specific views.”

The Meldrum House in Tauranga by DHT Architects takes full advantage of a narrow sloping site, providing sweeping views to the inner harbour and Mount Maunganui and beyond. 

The Motuoapa House at Turangi, Taupo, by Mark Frazerhurst Architect, was built on a modest budget and is “suitably rugged” for holiday living with planes of tactile materials that filter sunlight through slatted timber screens that blend with the cladding of the exterior.

A modern holiday home, in Nininihi Avenue, Raglan, by Tim Dorrington Architects, was “full of surprises” transforming effortlessly from cosy individual spaces to open plan when required. 

The “re-use and transformation of a home in the Hamilton Lake Alterations project by Edwards White Architects, was seen to achieve a “coherent and striking structure that sits comfortably in its surroundings”.  

The redevelopment of a lakeside holiday home, Lake Tarawera Bach Alterations, also by Edwards White Architects, was admired as having “resulted in a new home that is sympathetic to its surroundings and offers a higher level of amenity to its owners.” 

Additions to the McDonald House at Ohope, by Architecture Page Henderson, are separated from the original house by a new common entrance, providing independent and/or extended family living with small private spaces and a large communal area that opens over outdoor decks to the beach. 

Small Project Architecture

Hamilton’s Woodstock Primary School – New Entry & Library Computing Additions by Peddle Thorp Architects (Hamilton) was a winner in the Small Project Architecture category, described by jurors as a bold and welcoming new design that had brought the formerly obscure public entrance to the school to life.

Interior Architecture

The NZI on Collingwood project by Pelorus Architecture was the only winner in the Interior Architecture category.

Jurors praised the sustainable and energy-efficient principles, well managed, open design and clever use of sculptural forms and of colour resulting in “a pleasant working and client environment”.

More about the Awards

The awards are open to all NZIA Practices, and projects can be entered into one or more of 10 categories – Public Architecture, Residential Architecture – Housing, Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing, Commercial Architecture, Urban Design, Interior Architecture, Heritage, Small Project Architecture, Sustainability, and Enduring Architecture. 

There is no limit to the number of awards the local jury can make in any category. 

The programme has three tiers, progressing from the eight regional awards to national recognition – the New Zealand Architecture Awards – and through to the ultimate accolade, the New Zealand Architecture Medal. 

All local winners become eligible for consideration for a New Zealand Architecture Award, decided by a national jury, which includes an overseas judge, in early 2011. 

In May at the NZIA’s annual Gala Dinner, the finalists for the New Zealand Architecture Medal will be announced, and the winner named later in the evening. Only one New Zealand Architecture Medal is bestowed each year, in recognition of a single built work.