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From rivers to convents to memories – the winners of the Unbuilt Architecture Awards

From rivers to convents to memories – the winners of the Unbuilt Architecture Awards

100 ‘rooms of solitude’, a plan to create a new East River walkway in New York featuring a disused aircraft carrier and the integration of the earthquake-ravaged ruins of a Lyttelton convent into a new structure were the three diverse winners at this year’s AAA Cavalier Bremworth Unbuilt Architecture Awards.

This year’s judging panel included Kerry Hill from Kerry Hill Architects in Singapore, Andrew Patterson of Patterson Associates and Nat Cheshire from Cheshire Architects.

Guest international judge Hill said the calibre of student work was on par with that found internationally and boded well for the future of architecture in New Zealand.

Yumian (Dino) Chai’s winning entry in the student section featured 100 models, all representing 100 days of memories. The judges declared it “an intelligent, experimental, poetic, universal, endlessly inventive, delicate and sensitive project that fully expressed the potential of the award and demonstrated a maturity that stood out from the rest”.

Student runner-up was Clayton Prest for ‘Tipu Spiritual Retreat’, while Claudia Weber's ‘Implementing Permaculture into a Refugee Camp came highly commended.

This year the Open category was split into two sections – Conceptual and Work-in-Progress.

Gerald Melling of Melling Morse in Wellington was the winner in the Open Work-in-Progress section with his St Mary’s Convent residential project in Lyttelton. The architecture is predicated on the idea of light, timber-framed glazed 'boxes' perched on the heavy walls and/or footings of the existing 'ruins'. The thin flat roofs were influenced by the existing portico, acting as both the planning and architectural hinge to the swing of the site. The judges said the proposal displayed great clarity and maturity in planning, proportions, and materiality.

Runner-up in the Work-in-Progress section was RTA Studio for its mixed use cafe/retail/office project in Ponsonby.

The Open Conceptual section was won by a quartet from Burgess & Treep – Graeme Burgess, Michael Strange, Vance Bentley and Sybil Bloomfield. Their project to create a new floating park on the East River in New York incorporating a decommissioned aircraft carrier ‘demonstrated the imaginative type of thinking that could be applied to the Auckland waterfront’ noted the judges.

Runner-up in the Conceptual Section was Jonathan Gibb for The Green Cage, a mixed residential and art space set into a bare inner city lot.

Solitude – Yumian (Dino) Chai

St Mary's Convent – Gerald Melling

East River Park – Burgess & Treep