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Behold: The winners of the 2017 New Zealand Architecture Awards

Over twenty buildings have been crowned New Zealand’s premier architectural designs in the 2017 New Zealand Architecture Awards, while Patterson Associates’ Andrew Patterson received the Gold Medal – the highest personal honour an architect can receive. Here's a run down of the list of winners complete with all the aesthetically pleasing photos. 

More than 50 buildings from the Bay of islands to Queenstown were shortlisted for the awards, and each individual site was visited by a jury led by Arrowtown architect Louise Wright.

Wright said she thinks New Zealanders have increasingly high expectations of the buildings they live, work and study in, as well as the cities they inhabit.

“The quality of the built environment makes a real difference to people’s lives, and it is up to architects, and everyone in the building industry, to make the most of every construction opportunity,” she said.

She also said while the projects that won vary in looks and purpose, from offices, to houses, to churches, they all have one factor in common – they’re making a real difference to the lives of the people who use them.

Big winners of the night

Patterson Associates ended up taking home a slew of awards, including two for a house north of Kerikeri and a lodge at Kinloch, as well as the prestigious NZIA Gold Medal that was awarded to the firm’s founder, Andrew Patterson.

Institute of Architects’ president Christina van Bohemen said Patterson was more than deserving of the honour.

“Over the past twenty years, Andrew Patterson has designed some of the most innovative and visually striking buildings in New Zealand,” van Bohemen said. “He has pushed the boundaries of what is possible in New Zealand architecture, and his work is often surprising and always arresting.”

Patterson has had a hand in significant projects like the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre and the Geyser Building in Auckland.

“Andrew has also designed numerous virtuoso private houses,” van Bohemen said.

“His record, as evidenced by a string of architecture awards, is extraordinarily strong. He is a most worthy recipient of the 2017 Gold Medal.”

Meanwhile, the single most-awarded practice was Auckland’s Fearon Hay Architects, which took home three New Zealand Architecture Awards and the John Scott Award.

Here’s the full rundown of all the winners.

John Scott Award for Public Architecture:



Bishop Selwyn Chapel, a pavilion extension to Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, Auckland, designed by Fearon Hay Architects.

Jury’s comments: “The exquisite chapel is a sensitive insertion into a site with two strong but disparate existing buildings. The ambition of the concept has been matched by the quality of its realisation. The chapel is one of the outstanding works of recent New Zealand architecture.”

The Ted McCoy Award for Education:



Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana, a visitor centre and “living building” project developed by Ngāi Tūhoe and designed by Tennent and Brown Architects.

Jury’s comments: “Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana is the product of a holistic process in which sensitive design and considered siting are complemented by a thoroughgoing commitment to sustainable principles. The building is an impressive expression of Ngāi Tūhoe’s identification with their land and its history, and an excellent medium for the transmission of knowledge about a place and its people to visitors from around the world.”

The Sir Ian Athfield Award for Housing: 



Guy Tarrant’s house in the Auckland suburb of Point Chevalier, designed by him. The house – the architect’s own – is “a welcome departure from suburban convention”, the jury said.

Jury’s comments: “It engages boldly with the street in order to provide a courtyard plan ideally suited to Auckland’s climate, and a strong but generous public presence goes hand in hand with a sheltered and most liveable private realm.”

The Sir Miles Warren Award for Commercial Architecture:



Patterson Associates’ The Lodge at Kinloch Club, a building that provides hospitality and upmarket accommodation at a golf course near Taupo.

Jury’s comments: “[the architects took] full advantage of a spectacular site and creating a richly atmospheric building that offers a luxurious guest experience – the massing of the building, positioning of views and detailing have a common excellence.”

Public Architecture category winners:

 Bishop Selwyn Chapel - Chapel Street Centre by Dalman Architects.

Jury’s comments: This church is “open, transparent and welcoming”, the awards jury said. “It does not just communicate its function, but invites observation of the congregation at worship.”

Commercial Architecture category winners:

Australis Nathan by Peddle Thorp Architects, an historic Britomart building on which the architects applied the centuries-old plaster inscription technique called sgraffto to one façade.

Jury’s comments: “The reworking of the buildings adds a new face to a restored Customs Street heritage building that, after more than a century of single frontage existence, found its backside exposed to view from a recently created public square.”

Mason Bros., an old Wynyard Quarter warehouse building converted by Warren and Mahoney Architects.

Jury’s comments: “The insertion of a long, suspended box of workspaces within the existing structure, the passage of a generous laneway along the length of the building, and the admission of natural light through the retained sawtooth roof combine to produce a spacious, airy and user-friendly environment.”



The Kauri Timber Building by Fearon Hay Architects.

Jury’s comments: “Old and new co-exist harmoniously in this admirable piece of cityscaping that makes a staunch, if locally lonely, stand alongside a totally car-dominated street that follows the old Auckland shoreline.”

Interior Architecture category winners:



Faraday Street Studio by Fearon Hay Architects, the practice’s own office in a refurbished Parnell warehouse.

Jury's comments: The building has “adept deployment and finessing of industrial materials yields a sense of tough luxury”.

Strachan Group Architects’ own Kingsland studio and workshop.

Jury's comments: The project displayed “a deep understanding of how buildings are put together, materials deployed, and problems solved, along with typical inventiveness, commitment to sustainable principles and experiment with prefabrication”.

Heritage architecture category winners:



Warren and Mahoney Architects’ work on the Christchurch Arts Centre Clock Tower & Great Hall.

Jury’s comments: “It was important for the city that the Arts Centre Clock Tower & Great Hall were brought back to life: the excellence of the buildings’ restoration matches their status in civic life and communal memory.”



South Bloc in Hamilton by Edwards White Architects.

Jury’s comments: “a building “from the Ministry of Works’ 1960s heyday” that has been “liberated of later accretions and awkward re-workings to reveal the original design and acknowledge the integrity of the original materials”.

Education architecture category winners:



Tarawera High School by RTA Studio.

Jury’s comments: “Within the tight budget, the architects found a way to provide for a massive overhanging roof that connects the new school’s buildings, which are organised around a central wharenui and oriented to significant geographical and cultural landmarks.”

The New Law & Management Building, University of Waikato by Opus Architecture.

Jury’s comments: “Its solidity conveys permanence and seriousness, while the control of light and movement, and the provision of green breathing spaces and natural ventilation demonstrates an understanding of and sympathy for user well-being.”



The community-funded and built Lesieli Tonga Auditorium, in Māngere, Auckland by Bull O’Sullivan Architecture.

Jury’s comments: “Under the vast blanket of a frangipani-patterned ceiling – the building’s singular gesture – more than 1,500 congregants can gather for feasts and festivities, celebrations and commemorations. The robust building admirably meets its users’ needs, and is testament to its architect’s determination and the depth of his community engagement.”

Housing architecture category winners:



Hamilton Family Home in Arrowtown by Bull O’Sullivan Architecture.

Jury’s comments: The architects understood “the rhythms of family life and local climate”.

Beer’s Town House by Cambridge architect Christopher Beer.

Jury’s comments: Beer created “a resolutely urban-looking house” in the CBD of his provincial town.



A Bay of Islands house called Paoneone by Patterson Associates.

Jury’s comments: “On an idyllic site, considerable resource has supported a single-minded pursuit of quality.”

Housing – Alterations and Additions category winners:



The Herne Bay House Alteration designed by Gerrad Hall Architects.

Jury’s comments: It gives “an imaginative twist to the familiar tale of the villa extension. Two goals have been successfully pursued: to add a distinctive lower floor to an existing villa, and to connect the resultant living areas to the rear garden and lawn.”

Small Project Architecture category winners:



MOAA Architects’ St John’s Church in Hamilton.

Jury’s comments: “It offers its users a calm, protective environment encouraging of contemplation but also sympathetic to more active occupation.”

A pavilion that was intended to be shown 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale and eventually built by Stevens Lawson Architects and students from Unitec for this year’s Waiheke Island Sculpture on the Gulf Exhibition.

Jury’s comments: The bi-cultural allusions to whare and gable.

Enduring Architecture category winners:

The high-rise at 151 Queen Street, Auckland, formerly called the Fay Richwhite Building by Peddle Thorp Aitken.

Jury’s comments: “Time has shown that the 29-story tower is, in terms of its design and construction quality, architectural detailing and provision of amenity, head and shoulders above nearly all similar buildings of its era, and most that have been built since then.”

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