Awards recognise the best of the Christchurch rebuild

Awards recognise the best of the Christchurch rebuild

Airport facilities, public swimming pools, school buildings, shops and houses were some of the types of projects recognised at the 2013 Canterbury Architecture Awards, an official, peer-reviewed programme of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

The awards recognised 21 projects related to the rebuild of Christchurch and were announced on Wednesday night at the Air Force Museum in Wigram. 

Christchurch architect Perry Royal, the convenor of the Awards jury, said the number of projects entered into the awards was significantly higher than in the past three years.

“It seems we’re seeing the first wave of the Christchurch rebuild,” says Royal, “and the good news from this year’s Canterbury Architecture Awards is that there is some excellent work being done by the region’s architects.”

Royal said his jury, which included architects Leo Van Veenendaal and Hamish Shaw, Te Maire Tau from the University of Canterbury’s Ngai Tahu Research Centre, and architectural graduate Jenny Babonnick, took a rigorous approach to judging the awards entries.

“I think my colleagues set the bar quite high,” he adds. “That’s appropriate, because people in Christchurch, especially, want to believe that quality architecture will replace the buildings we have lost.”  

“Heritage is struggling to get a look in,” he said. “Often it seems work on older buildings that have survived the earthquakes is focused on retention, rather than restoration. That’s understandable, because careful restoration is time-consuming and expensive, but it is important that our surviving architectural heritage gets the attention it deserves.”

Two projects at Christchurch Airport received Canterbury Architecture Awards: the Air New Zealand Regional Lounge, designed by BVN Donovan Hill and Jasmax in association, was recognised in both the commercial and interior architecture categories. The Integrated Terminal Project at Christchurch International Airport, designed by Warren and Mahoney Architects and Hassell in association, won an Award in the commercial category. 

Three significant community buildings, two of them public swimming pools, won Awards in the Public Architecture category: the Selwyn Aquatic Centre (by Warren and Mahoney Architects), the Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre (by Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner Team Architecture) and the Aranui Library (designed by Christchurch City Council's own architecture office).

Two school projects received Awards. St Margaret College’s Gymnasium and Chapel, designed by Athfield Architects and a recipient an Award in the Education category, is a “multi-functional facility” that “sits neatly within its central campus complex, as a link to future staging and a cloistered building mass.”

The repair of Harper and Julius Houses at Christ’s College, undertaken by Wilkie + Bruce Registered Architects, received its Award in the Sustainable Architecture category. The University of Canterbury made it into the Awards list with the James Hight Undercroft, an “energised transformation of an unloved Brutalist space used for housing bikes into a core area for student life”. Warren and Mahoney Architects were the authors of this work, which was awarded in the Interior Architecture category.  

Several retail projects were recognised, including the Fendalton Road Shops, designed by Athfield Architects, a winner in the Commercial Architecture category and Sala Sala Japanese Restaurant, designed by Herriott + Melhuish Architecture (HMA), which received an Award in the Interior Architecture category. 

Fulton Ross Team Architects and their clients were praised by the jury for their work on a “significant cluster of heritage buildings in Christchurch CBD under imminent threat of post-quake demolition.” This project, which entailed the retention and repair of “a group of buildings in which the whole is clearly greater than the sum of the parts,” received its Award in the Sustainable Architecture category.

Two complementary buildings were the only projects to be awarded in the Heritage category. The work on both Annandale Homestead and Annandale Shepherds Cottage was undertaken by Patterson Associates. The jury said Annandale Homestead is “an outstanding example of the re-presentation of a historically important building, in a manner that allows for an appreciation of its past and an anticipation of its future.”

Additionally, eight private residences picking up Awards in the Housing category.

All winners of 2013 Canterbury Branch Architecture Awards are eligible for consideration for the top tier of the annual Awards programme, the New Zealand Architecture Awards. These awards will be announced in May 2014.

The New Zealand Architecture Awards programme is supported by Resene and judged by juries appointed by the New Zealand Institute of Architects and its branches.