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Small budgets create big design wins

Small budgets create big design wins

A limited budget need not limit good design, as some of the winning entries from Friday evening’s 2010 Western Architecture Awards have proved. 

Judging panel convenor, architect Monika Puri, says that the impact of the recession had been clear. 

“There has been some really good and interesting architecture created on humble budgets,” she says. “There were not any grand designs but there are a lot of very well executed projects, including sleek modern homes, built using simple natural materials and that has been really interesting and exciting to see.”

Puri, from Palmerston North, was joined on the jury architects Ian Pritchard from New Plymouth and Robert Jaunay from Wanganui. Lay juror was Manawatu Standard arts journalist Michelle Duff.

As well as visiting all shortlisted properties, the judges met with the architects and clients. The buildings were judged against a series of key criteria including their contribution to the advancement of architecture as a discipline and enhancement of the human spirit. 

And now, onto the results... 

IPAD at Porikapa Beach, Taranaki 

A breathtakingly simple IPAD at Porikapa Beach Taranaki charmed jurors who described it as beautifully-crafted, comfortable and yet incredibly minimalist. 

The bach, by Architex New Zealand, a winner in the Residential Architecture – Houses category, was also praised for not intruding on its surrounding landscape. 

Jurors noted: “It provides protection from the elements, without curtailing appreciation of its immediate environment. Clever screens define the entrance and courtyard, also adding to geometry. The interior can be adapted to any style.” 

Public Architecture winners 

Levin District Courthouse by Tse Architects, a winner in the Public Architecture category, was admired as a “contemporary take on a courthouse”, showing good use of materials and colours throughout and achieving an excellent balance between functionality and security. 

St Brigids Church and Community Centre in Feilding by Void Architecture Research Urbanism, was seen as a challenging project which had been well resolved to accommodate community facilities. 

Jurors said that the tall, slender and beautifully designed campanile tower both signals the presence of the church and has become an important landmark to the community. 

St Mary’s School Administration Remodel in Wanganui by BSM Group Architects was praised as a low budget project which was well thought out “giving more than expected”. 

The Todd Energy Aquatic Centre project in New Plymouth, by Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner Team Architecture was hailed as “a brilliant resolution for a building with a design well past its use by date” reinstating the beauty of “a coastal jewel”. 

Jurors said: “Playfulness has been harnessed on a grand scale, with light introduced through skylights, and acrylic panels in a way that delights users of the space.” 

Artistic house among Residential Architecture winners 

The “artistic” S House, Oakura, also by Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner Team Architects, a winner in Residential Architecture – Houses was admired for creating “an enthralling contrast between delicate and robust design components”. 

Jurors said that the fine veil of cedar battens which conceal one side of the house create “a sense of mystery”. They also admired the crisp and consistent interior and “wonderful cascading steps” leading to the lawn. 

Managh House in Feilding by Designgroup Stapleton Elliott, also a winner in the category, caught jurors’ attention with its strong geometric forms. 

They noted: “Interconnection between inside and outdoor areas is excellent, with the design capitalising on the superb rural views.”

Urban Design 

The Huatoki Plaza project in New Plymouth, by Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner Team Architects, was the only winner in the Urban Design category. 

Jurors said that “though this is a large urban space, the architects have managed to create an intimate relationship with the river, a waterway of historical importance”. 

The scheme includes strong, sculptural elements seen in the ramp which leads to an open amphitheatre and provides a smooth transition to the water. 

Commercial Architecture winners include playful wine bar 

Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner Team Architects was also responsible for two of the winning projects in the Commercial Architecture category 

The Montrose Wine Bar in New Plymouth, was praised as a delightfully playful design that “acts like a cocoon, enveloping the visitor. Using plywood across wall and ceiling creates an intimate space, while cleverly referencing a wine barrel.” 

The TCC Control Room Upgrade at Stratford was described as “a perfect example of how architecture can be used to improve the culture of an organisation”. 

The Gonville Centre, in Wanganui, by Dalgleish Architects, which incorporates community and medical centre facilities, was also among winners in the category. 

Jurors admired the meticulous detailing and innovating space planning that caters for the different health services the centre offers while providing a community space that “resolves the issues of both client and users”. 

The VBW Accountants Ltd – Alterations in New Plymouth, by Elliott Architects (NP), was praised for transforming an outdated, poorly functioning space into a “logical, workable office”. 

Interior Architecture 

The NZI Palmerston North by Pelorus Architecture was the only winner in the Interior Architecture category. 

Jurors said the modern, well planned office space capitalises on natural light and the introduction of colour and different materials add a playful aspect. 

Winning ticket office 

The TSB Stadium Foyer Refurbishment – Free Standing Ticket Counter by Chapman Oulsnam Speirs Limited, was the only winner in the Small Project Architecture category. 

It was described by jurors as inventive and deceptively simple, showing clever use of playful materials and vibrant colours and mobile enough to be packed away and moved to another location. 

More about the Awards 

The awards are open to all NZIA Practices, and projects can be entered into one or more of 10 categories – Public Architecture, Residential Architecture – Housing, Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing, Commercial Architecture, Urban Design, Interior Architecture, Heritage, Small Project Architecture, Sustainability, and Enduring Architecture.  

There is no limit to the number of awards the local jury can make in any category.   

The programme has three tiers, progressing from the eight regional awards to national recognition – the New Zealand Architecture Awards – and through to the ultimate accolade, the New Zealand Architecture Medal.  

All local winners become eligible for consideration for a New Zealand Architecture Award, decided by a national jury, which includes an overseas judge, in early 2011.   

In May at the NZIA’s annual Gala Dinner, the finalists for the New Zealand Architecture Medal will be announced, and the winner named later in the evening. Only one New Zealand Architecture Medal is bestowed each year, in recognition of a single built work.

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