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Heritage, commercial projects top Waikato/Bay of Plenty Architecture Awards 2012

Two of New Zealand’s most significant heritage sites, Rotorua Museum and Turangawaewae Marae featured in the 2012 Waikato-Bay of Plenty Architecture Awards, along with gems such as a small transportable Coromandel bach (also recognised at the Timber Design Awards) and a handful of commercial and educational reimaginings (the sleek Laser Eye Clinic is a standout).

All in all, 21 architectural projects warranted prizes, and jury convenor Taupo architect Sean Harris said this year’s awards were characterised by a wide spread of buildings from regional centres in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty districts.

“People using architects are looking for quality,” Harris said. “And it shows – there’s no good building without a good client and we were impressed with the standard of the projects we visited.”

Several of the award-winning projects are buildings refurbished for community or communal use. The Rotorua Museum of Art + History, thanks to Sigma Associates, has been extended so that it is now finally completed to its original 1908 design. The result, the jury said, “is a new lease of life for one of New Zealand’s iconic buildings”.

At Ngaruawahia, Salmond Reed Architects have restored and upgraded two buildings at Turangawaewae Marae, the seat of the King Movement. At the meeting house, Mahinarangi, and the royal residence, Turongo, the architects, have, the awards jury said, “taken great care not to disturb the original fabric and decoration of the buildings”.

The Whakatane Library & Exhibition Centre, designed by Irving Smith Jack Architects, won two awards, one for public architecture and one for sustainable architecture. The jury praised this work of “civic reinvention” in which the architects have “turned an unprepossessing former retail space into a pleasant, functional and much-needed civic amenity".

The adaptation of existing buildings was a strategy pursued across several types of buildings, Harris says. At the Ruakura Research Campus of Tai Wananga, also a double award winner, in both the education and sustainable architecture categories, Chow:Hill Architects “have taken an under-utilised but structurally sound laboratory complex and converted it into a light-filled and well-ventilated modern learning environment”.

In similar spirit, Antanas Procuta Architects have transformed the “rigid and rectilinear layout” of the offices of Waikato University’s School of Psychology into “a freer-formed, light and airy environment”, and Edwards White Architects have turned the tired lobby of a downtown Hamilton commercial building into “an understated, sophisticated and welcoming entry”.      

Harris said there was a strong showing of commercial buildings in the awards, among them two buildings in Te Rapa. Number 8 Maui Street, a building for a packaging company, has been “cleverly and appropriately designed” by Archimedia Group as a packaged container sitting lightly on its site, and Te Awa, an enclosed shopping complex designed by Ignite Architects, “is informed by cultural themes generated by and important to the iwi client group”.

Harris said an important quality of good architecture is that it is designed and built to last. And for that reason, he said, it was pleasing to give an award for enduring architecture to the Cowley Residence, a house designed in 1962 by the late Hamilton architect Dick Mercer.

“Fifty years after it completion this house remains an exemplary work,” the awards jury said. “In its form, scale and programme it perfectly expresses a moment in this country’s architecture – a time when New Zealand houses were modest in size, sufficient in amenity and made of local materials.”

Commercial Architecture

maui st 2012 architecture awards8 Maui Street (Te Rapa) - Archimedia Group Ltd

Judges say: A building for a packaging company itself has been appropriately and cleverly designed as a packaged container sitting lightly on its site. The packaged theme, expressed though the precise assembly of sculptural elements, is continued in the interior to create a light-filled and calm working environment.

laser eye clinic 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Craig Brown

Laser Eye Clinic (Hamilton)  - Chibnall Buckell Marovic Team Architects Ltd

Judges say:  Reusing an existing base, the architects have designed a well sited and clean-lined building with a modest but expressive street presence. Timber cladding on both the exterior and interior softens a building which provides a calm and relaxed environment for the clinic’s staff and clients.

sharp tudhope 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Kenneth Li

Sharp Tudhope (Tauranga) - Jasmax Limited and Matrixx Architects

Judges say:  A confident and well-executed building on a busy promenade has been designed and constructed with a restrained material palette respectful of context and promising enduring quality. The architects’ understanding of local climatic conditions is evident in the solar protection strategies they have pursued, and their appreciation for the project’s civic aspect is exemplified by the treatment accorded to the entrance and the building’s more public areas.

te awa shopping centre 2012 architecture awards



Te AWA (Te Rapa) - Ignite Architects Limited

Judges say:  The design of this new enclosed shopping complex is informed by cultural themes generated by and important to the iwi client group. As such, the retail centre, through its planning and materials, establishes resonant links to place and past.

vetfocus te awamutu 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Craig Brown

Vetfocus Veterinary Centre (Te Awamutu) - DLA Architects Limited

Judges say:  A timber exterior and a structural form suggestive of the district’s rural buildings softens a commercial facility adjacent to a residential area, yet also allows the business to establish a necessary presence. The building is well planned and the architects have pursued an environmentally aware strategy including the recycling of existing building elements and the incorporation of energy efficient technologies.

Education

tai wananga ruakura campus 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Craig Brown

Tai Wananga, Ruakura Research Campus - Chow:Hill Architects Ltd

Judges say:  An existing building has been pared back to its good bones, and repurposed as a spacious and light-filled modern learning environment. The planning is intelligent and efficient, allowing for flexible use and lively occupation. While the budget was tight, the building is animated by a generosity of spirit and an honest expression of structure and form.

waikato diocesan school for girls sports centre 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Craig Brown

Waikato Diocesan School for Girls; Sports Education Centre (Hamilton) - Antanas Procuta Architects Ltd

Judges say:  This building at the rear of the Diocesan School for Girls campus establishes a legible ‘working’ entry to the school. Its transparency allows natural light to flood the gymnasium space and establishes excellent connections to a generous open space sheltered by mature oak trees. A thorough-going environmental strategy has been implemented to promote user comfort and energy efficiency.

Heritage

rotorua museum 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Craig Robertson

Rotorua Museum of Art + History - Sigma Consultants Ltd

Judges say: A challenging, three-stage project has completed the Rotorua Museum to its original 1908 design. The Northern Viewing Gallery and the Northern and Southern Extensions have been integrated successfully with the existing building, providing excellent gallery and ancillary spaces. The architects’ attention to detail is laudable, and their respect for the existing building is evident. The result is a new lease of life for one of New Zealand’s iconic buildings.

turangawaewae marae ngaruwahia 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Mark Smith

Turangawaewae Marae (Ngaruawahia) - Salmond Reed Architects Limited

Judges say: At the seat of the King Movement, the architects have carried out a sensitive and adept upgrading and refurbishment of two highly significant New Zealand buildings: the meeting house Mahinarangi (built 1929) and the royal residence Turongo (built in 1938). In incorporating modern materials and services, and new buildings, into the existing architecture the architects have taken great care not to disturb the original fabric and decoration of the buildings. The unobtrusive work will serve to preserve the Kingitanga buildings for future generations.

Housing

arran rd residence house 2012 architecture awardsArran Road Residence (Hamilton) - Edwards White Architects Ltd

Judges say: This clean-lined building takes advantage of its site overlooking a park bordering the Waikato River, while successfully responding to and addressing its suburban context. Interlocking rectilinear forms are grouped to provide privacy on three sides, but the house opens to light and views on its north side. The intelligent consideration of public and private realms is continued in the interior, which is organised around a central spine and distinguished by a well-chosen palette of materials, textures and colours.

kirk house 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Craig Robertson

Kirk House (Whakatane) - Carling Architects Ltd

Judges say:  The architect’s research into and sympathy for period residential design has successfully informed the alterations and additions to this late nineteenth century rural house. Successive layers of alterations to the house were stripped back, before considered and sensitive interventions and additions were made. The new work has served to restore a fine house to its former glory, and adapt it to contemporary habitation.

mchardy house 2012 architecture awards

McHardy House (Waihi) - Roger Course Architect

Judges say:  This warm and comfortable house is well sited to take advantage of its rural prospect and well adapted to local climatic conditions. The programmatic separation of public and private spaces is abetted by the employment of shoji-type sliding screens on the exterior which may be manoeuvred to frame outdoor rooms in response to season and weather. The use of some recycled materials is consistent with the architect’s responsive approach to site and context.

mangatawa papakainga kaumatua housing papamoa 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Quinn O'Connell

Mangatawa Papakainga Kaumatua Housing (Papamoa) - Babbage Consultants Limited

Judges say: A crescent of 10, two-bedroom houses, oriented north to the sea, is the first successful stage of a project providing marae housing for iwi kaumatua. Materially sympathetic to traditional marae and rural buildings, the design of the houses allows for both communal interaction and personal privacy. Houses built to a modest budget are making a big difference to the lives of their inhabitants.

te awa lane residence 2012 architecture awards

Te Awa Lane Residence (Tamahere, Hamilton) - Edwards White Architects

Judges say:  Strong, simple gable forms anchor this house on its greenfield, riverside house. The Hinuera stone cladding accentuates the solidity of the house, which is shaped to provide sheltered outdoor areas and designed to offer framed views to the grounds and the river. The attention accorded to materials has also been applied to climate control, and the result is a comfortable, modern country home.

Interior Architecture

lobby refurbishment 2012 architecture awardsLobby Refurbishment (Hamilton) - Edwards White Architects Ltd

Judges say: By bringing order to visual clutter and replacing tired materials the architects have transformed the lobby of a six storey downtown building into an understated, sophisticated and welcoming entry. Timber battens lend warmth, new tiles accentuate a sense of space, and well deployed lighting provides a sympathetic ambience. The level of care taken by clients and architects is a welcome precedent in the Hamilton CBD.

staples roadway 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Craig Brown

Staples Rodway (Hamilton) - Chow:Hill Architects Ltd

Judges say: This well-considered fitout facilitates the client’s requirement for a flexible layout accommodating a wide range of organisational options, suitable to both formal and informal, and team and individual working arrangements. An easy flow, and a light and airy environment, is discretely structured by sympathetic design.

Public architecture

whakatane library 2012 architecture awards

Whakatane Library & Exhibition Centre – Te Kōputu a Te Whanga a Toi - Irving Smith Jack Architects Ltd

Judges say:  In an act of civic reinvention, the architects have repurposed a large abandoned building and revitalised a neighbourhood. What might have seemed an unpromising prospect has yielded an important cultural destination, combining library, museum and exhibition spaces. A thoughtful reworking of the existing structure has provided a flexible and light-filled environment, and a building well-connected to adjacent open space.

Small Project Architecture

forman residence house 2012 architecture awardsForman Residence (Hamilton) - Ambienti Team Architects Ltd

Judges say: A bedroom wing, courtyard and outdoor covered area has been added to an existing house in a manner that is both sympathetic and idiosyncratic. The bold, expressive and individualistic work indicates a close engagement with the clients and a highly personalised response to the possibilities of the site and the nature of the landscape.

hut on sleds 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Jackie Meiring

Hut on Sleds (Whangapoua) - Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects (Auckland) Ltd

Judges say:  Seemingly a back to basics hut, this beach building is in fact carefully designed to eke out every last bit of its 40 square metres of space in order to accommodate a family of five. Its innovative portability responds to the local council’s criteria for structures in the coastal erosion zone, and its materials and form suggest, self-consciously and amusingly, the traditional Kiwi bach. An open and shut case, the hut on sleds is a delightful little work of architecture.

waikato university school of psychology 2012 architecture awards

Waikato University School of Psychology Offices Re-fit (Hamilton) - Antanas Procuta Architects Ltd

Judges say:  In the spirit of Kant’s observation that “out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made” the architects have transformed the rigid and rectilinear layout of the School of Psychology’s offices into a freer-formed, light and airy environment. Custom-designed fittings make a sculptural contribution to the fit-out, and a wall of exposed concrete is juxtaposed with new and highly finished materials to lively and resonant effect.

Sustainable Architecture


hut on sleds 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Jackie Meiring

Hut on Sleds (Whangapoua) - Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects (Auckland) Ltd

Judges say:  With its small-as-possible footprint, light tread upon the ground, and transportability, the Hut on Sleds is an advertisement for sustainable architecture. Add the use of locally sourced construction materials and the collection, use and on-site disposal of water and the building is an embodiment of sustainable principles.

tai wananga ruakura campus 2012 architecture awardsPHOTO: Craig Brown

Tai Wananga, Ruakura Research Campus (Hamilton) - Chow:Hill Architects Ltd

Judges say:  The re-use of an existing building is perhaps the most sustainable architectural practice of all, and in this project the architects have taken an under-utilised but structurally sound laboratory complex and converted it into a light-filled and well-ventilated modern learning environment.

whakatane library 2012 architecture awards

Whakatane Library & Exhibition Centre – Te Kōputu a Te Whanga a Toi  - Irving Smith Jack Architects Ltd

Judges say:  The architects brought an optimistic sprit and innovative approach to this project, and turned an unprepossessing former retail space into a pleasant, functional and much-needed civic amenity. The project is sustainable in the widest use of that term, that is, it uses an existing building and turns it into a healthier environment for users, but it also promotes the cause of a sustainable community.

Enduring Award

cowley residence house 2012 architecture awardsCowley Residence (Hamilton) - Dick Mercer Architect

Judges say:  Fifty years after its completion in 1962 this Hamilton house, located on an elevated site overlooking the river and approached via a little foot bridge, remains an exemplary work. In its form, scale and programme it perfectly expresses a moment in this country’s architecture – a time when New Zealand houses were modest in size, sufficient in amenity and made of local materials. It’s also a model of sustainability, to this day occupied by the original clients and carefully maintained so that the soundness of the structure and quality of the finishes have endured for half a century of family life.