The New Zealand Architecture Awards last night honoured 19 Kiwi architectural projects, and bestowed the prestigious New Zealand Architecture Medal to Fearon Hay Architects for its restoration and revitalisation of a group of heritage buildings on Auckland’s Queen St known as The Imperial Buildings.
The Imperial Buildings was one of many projects this year in which older buildings were adapted for modern re-use.
The Awards jury convenor, Auckland architect Andrew Barclay, says, “the conversion of older buildings to new purposes may be a symptom of current economic circumstances, but it also signals a greater awareness of the worth of existing buildings, and of the possibilities they offer to imaginative clients and architects.”
Mr Barclay says imagination was at a premium this year because the budgets for projects were often modest.
Buildings where designers used limited resources to great effect include Irving Smith Jack Architects’ Whakatane Library and Exhibition Centre, and Pearson & Associates Architects’ Shelter & Exhibition Centre on the Gulf Island of Rotoroa.
The 2013 Awards also revealed the emergence of young architects such as Glamuzina Paterson Architects, Assembly Architects, and the Victoria University team which entered the First Light House into a highly selective international student design competition in the US.
New Zealand Institute of Architects President David Sheppard presented the Gold Medal for career achievement to Pip Cheshire, architect of such acclaimed buildings as Auckland’s Q Theatre, the Leigh Marine Laboratory, the Congreve and Stringer.
The New Zealand Institute of Architects praised Cheshire’s design skills, self-belief and the necessary stubbornness that has enabled him to follow a course of his own making.
“One of the abiding and fascinating characteristics of Pip’s career is his determination to reconcile his ambition with his desire to pursue meaningful work consistent with his personal principles.”
There were 11 categories overall in which buildings were acknowledged for their wonderful design, including commercial, public architecture and education.