A dozen projects ranging from houses to offices and a school to an army workshop have been acknowledged in the 2012 Western Architecture Awards, the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ official awards programme for the Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu and Horowhenua regions.
It is a reflection of present circumstances, jury convenor Duncan Sinclair said, that several awards went to projects which adapted existing buildings. Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Team Architects received an award for JRI Offices in New Plymouth, in which the architects refurbished a 1970s building to create “a warm and welcoming interior that imparts a semi-domestic feel to a commercial space”. The same firm also won an award for Powerco Project Open, New Plymouth, which involved converting an old, shed-like building into a modern working environment with more than 60 workstations.
The jury also gave an Enduring Architecture Award to Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery, which was built in 1919 to the design of a young architect, Donald Hosie, who was killed at Passchendaele two years earlier.
Hosie’s architecture practice, Edmund Anscombe and Associates (which dominated on the night with five awards), oversaw the construction of the Sarjeant Gallery which, the jury noted, has “an outstanding reputation as one of New Zealand’s finest provincial art galleries with an enduring importance in the cultural life of its city”.
Energy City Motors (New Plymouth) - Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Team Architects Ltd
Judges say: Client and architect have combined well on the design of this project, in which material selection and the quality of finishes has enhanced the user experience on both sides of a car dealership’s counter. On the façade differing treatments of opacity and cladding clearly distinguish the dealership’s sales and service areas, and a light and airy environment extends throughout the building. Delivered expeditiously, the new building has already succeeded in raising the client’s commercial profile.
1 RNZIR Workshop, Linton Camp - GHD Architecture
Judges say: The exposure of the primary structure has lent an elegant levity to a building of considerable mass. Spacious working areas are well lit and heated for staff comfort, the selective use of particle board cladding provides added visual warmth, and a subdued colour palette seems eminently suitable for a building of this nature. The client’s brief has been well achieved in a successful design.
Te Wainui a Rua School (Ranana, Whanganui) - Opus Architecture
Judges say: Perched high above the Whanganui River with a courtyard open to the north, this school is an inspiring learning environment. Broad views of the landscape from large window seats and a log fire to counter the chill of winter are among the elements that will ensure the school is appreciated and valued by staff, pupils and the wider community. The design raises the bar for schools in remote areas, and flies the flag for the education of the children who are our future.
Dickson House (Whanganui) - Bruce Dickson Architect
Judges say: Employing a relaxed and sociable programme and simple and robust materials, including timber and concrete block, the architect set out to design a family home very much in the New Zealand tradition. He has succeeded admirably; this joyful house benefits from the adept treatment of natural light and sure command of scale, and a successful relationship, built on a courtyard organising principle, between inside and out. This is a mature work with timeless qualities.
House of Emotions (Palmerston North) - Architype – Shadbolt Architects Ltd
Judges say: Nestled beneath the branches of a mature Pin Oak and presenting a happy prospect to any tree-lover, the House of Emotions is sympathetically designed to meet the changing needs of clients anticipating retirement. On the exterior, the white cladding, natural cedar and colour-accented windows are a visual treat. A well-sheltered front door leads into a comfortable interior in which the generous use of ply, combined with red accents, imparts a sense of warmth in the kitchen and stairwell areas, while elsewhere soft green shades promote a restful atmosphere.
Lloyd House (New Plymouth) - Saunders Architects Limited
Judges say: Dubbed the “Love Boat”, this is a joyful and even whimsical house for happily idiosyncratic clients. In a family home in the bush, pursuing a nautical theme, evident in a front elevation suggestive of a cruise ship’s bridge and elements such as the porthole skylight, was certainly not orthodox, but the strategy has worked for the clients. There’s even a touch of James Bond dash and bravado in a surprising house that’s guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of any visitor.
Plymouth Road Farmhouse (New Plymouth) - Architects Ian Pritchard
Judges say: Driven by the capturing of rural views and clearly designed accordingly, this house nestles comfortably into a natural terrace by adopting a split-level plan that usefully separates most of the private areas from the common spaces. The relaxed interior benefits from the employment of a simple and controlled palette of materials that do not distract from the expansive views. The sophisticated interior detailing is well conceived and equally well realised, and is consistent with the client’s wish for a high-quality and enduring home.
Antunovic Bathroom (Oakura) - Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Team Architects Ltd
Judges say: The rich hues of the timber floor and ceiling and the ruggedness of the concrete block and river-stone wall finishes are combined to good effect in creating a warm environment that flows easily to the outdoors. Well detailed joinery and opaque glass allow just the right amount of separation between private and less private spaces. A nice addition that might disrupt the Kiwi tendency to treat the kitchen as the centre of activity for any party.
Cameron Buckley House (New Plymouth) - Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Team Architects Ltd
Judges say: Drawing in the rough, but well put together, exterior sawn timber cladding into the interior and there combining it with refined joinery detailing has lent this house a sophisticated camping ambience. Interior ‘pods’ accommodating different functions sit feely between the unconstrained ceiling and floor that extends beyond the translucent walls; the effect further enhances the sense of being outdoors. The innovative use of materials and textures creates an interesting and surprising interior, and together with a subtle colour palette does justice to the dramatic coastal environment.
JRI Offices (New Plymouth) - Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Team Architects Ltd
Judges say: An unassuming entry opens up into a warm and welcoming interior that imparts a semi-domestic feeling to a commercial space. The main open-plan area is linked together by a well-detailed overhead joinery unit that runs the full length of the space – this cleverly-conceived element will work as a unifying device no matter what furniture arrangement may be decided. Dark ply panelling with deep reveals covering the window head and sill frames have given the old windows a crisp modern casing that belies their dated exterior.
Powerco Project Open (New Plymouth) - Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Team Architects Ltd
Judges say: This new use of an old industrial workshop demonstrates how successful such conversions can be if pursued with sympathy and imagination. Interior light and ventilation shafts containing bamboo plants, clever industrial detailing, exposed services, and colourful graphics and flooring bring a huge space down to a human level creating a work-place that is pure joy to occupy and use.
Sarjeant Gallery (Whanganui) - Edward Anscombe and Associates
Judges say: Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery has an outstanding reputation as one of New Zealand’s finest provincial art galleries and an enduring importance in the cultural life of its city. Designed in Neo-Classical style by Donald Hosie shortly before his death at Passchendaele in 1917, it was completed by the young architect’s firm, Edmund Anscombe and Associates, and officially opened in 1919. The Gallery’s pioneering use of “Top-Side-Lighted” lighting was hugely influential in this country, and the restrained interior has proved a remarkably successful environment in which to display a significant public art collection, just as the Oamaru stone exterior has provided a local exemplar of architectural excellence for 90 years. The Sarjeant Gallery is a wonderful testament to and validation of a city’s architectural ambition.