Nelson / Marlborough Architecture Awards
Media release: embargoed until 7pm, Thursday 31st October
Nelson / Marlborough Architecture Awards celebrate public-spirited design
Architectural projects celebrating community and honouring New Zealand culture were among the winners of this year’s Nelson/Marlborough Architecture Awards, which were announced at the Theatre Royal Nelson on Thursday, 31 October.
The 13 award-winning buildings, scattered across the region from Blenheim to Nelson and down to the West Coast, ranged in scale from a sizeable museum and a public swimming pool to a tiny block of toilets in a busy city square.
Convenor of the jury, Nelson architect John Palmer, said the entries were of a consistently high standard and that it was “a real privilege” to experience them all.
“Nothing was awarded lightly,” Palmer said, noting that he his fellow jury members, architects Chris Kelly and Richard Sellars and artist Rose Shepard, spent three days travelling throughout the district to view 28 projects.
The jury was pleased to discover that several community projects were making a positive contribution in the public realm.
“It was good to see buildings such as the new Aquatic Centre in the Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 becoming hubs of activity,” Palmer said.
Palmer added that this feel-good factor wasn’t restricted to municipal projects. Other types of building, such as Ukaipo – Rangitane Cultural Centre exemplified the community-building role of architecture, Palmer said, adding that the Award given to the Ukaipo was just as much an acknowledgement of clients who “embraced the project and made it part of their story.”
The significant contribution that high-quality architecture makes to people’s everyday lives was also illustrated in the well-populated Housing category. Palmer said it was humbling for the jury to meet clients in their homes and realise the enjoyment their properties brought them.
This appreciation wasn’t true of only new dwellings. An Enduring Architecture Award was given to a small house in St Arnaud designed more than 25 years ago. The building reminds us that “design from another age can still capture the same magic,” Palmer said.
Palmer observed that many of the winners in the 2013 Nelson/Marlborough Architecture Awards – an official, peer-reviewed programme run by the New Zealand Institute of Architects – were designed by architects based in other parts of the country.
“It’s interesting to see how practices from other places approach design in our region, and their presence is healthy for our local industry,” Palmer said.
Recipients of 2013
Nelson/Marlborough Architecture Awards
Architecture bringing people together was a common theme of the three projects recognised in the Awards’ Commercial category. The Ukaipo – Rangitane Cultural Centre in Grovetown, designed by Wilkie + Bruce Registered Architects, signifies a new chapter in the history of the local Maori people. Made up of a series of sheds that appear to float above the ground, the centre has become a “place of nurturing”. The building is a “fine example of inclusive architecture,” the jury said.
The Blenheim Pak ‘n’ Save supermarket may not be an epicentre of culture but it nevertheless plays an important role in the community. Designed by Dunedin’s McCoy and Wixon Architects, the building’s material palette incorporates stone gabions, timber slats and stainless-steel mesh screens to acknowledge the site on which it stands. The jury said this supermarket “sets new standards of environmental control” in its incorporation of software that monitors and fine-tunes energy use.
A chapel and memorial room, set around a tranquil courtyard, was the third project acknowledged in the Commercial category. The Hope Gardens of Remembrance Crematorium, designed by Nelson practice Jerram Tocker Barron Architects, is partly inspired by Chinese walled gardens. The courtyard allows light and views to enter the chapel, while maintaining a sense of privacy. Natural elements such as stone, timber and flowing water are organised “in clear, meaningful axes to create a quiet, spiritual place of remembrance.”
Jerram Tocker Barron
Architects was the only firm to be recognised in two
categories of the Awards. The firm was also a winner in the
Small Project Architecture with its design of the 1903
Square Toilets. Located in a cobbled pedestrian area of the
Nelson CBD, and surrounded by a number of heritage
buildings, the robust, modern design is, the jury said,
“an elegant assembly of city furniture”.
The two projects that received awards in the Public Architecture category have quickly enhanced the amenity of their neighbourhoods. Warren and Mahoney Architects designed a new Aquatic Centre at the Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000 as a light-filled complex that incorporates five new swimming pools and a state-of-the-art fitness centre. The jury said the architects achieved a design that allows for “social interaction and promoting a sense of community”.
A high-profile site and an existent iconic building meant the team at Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner Team Architecture took a sensitive approach when remodeling the Coaltown Museum in Westport. The jury was impressed by a creative use of materials and a clever, engaging design which included a generous canopy leading to “a veiled timber and glass ‘light box’.”
Clients of Nelson Radiology will appreciate the calm and welcoming environment created by Arthouse Architecture. Awarding the project in the Interior Architecture category, the jury praised the judicious use of muted colours, wood panelling and textile designs that link to the natural environment, saying “the geometries of the floor design provide both client privacy and connectedness to the overall space”.
Private residences set in olive groves, orchards and vineyards are included in the line-up of five award-winners in the Housing category. Matz Architects’ designed the Leslie House in a Marlborough vineyard as a low-slung building that appears to unfold from a hillside. The house overlooks vineyards and makes extensive use of structural concrete elements that “serve to frame vistas”. A gallery space forms the backbone of the residence and its sheltering eaves create a link to the surrounding landscape.
In Sisson House – Stage 2, Christchurch-based Borrmeister Architects designed a cluster of small building forms around three courtyards on an established olive grove in Renwick. The jury praised the planning as a good example of how “a relatively small footprint can be made to feel big and interesting through clarity of relationships between inside and out.” A simple, natural material palette allows the building to sit gently within the landscape.
Torea House, designed by Wellington firm Tennent + Brown Architects, comprises three fine-edged pavilions sited on a former apple orchard with views of the Waimea Estuary. The roofs of the house gently overlap each other and fold up at the ends to evoke wings. “A bunkered service area allows the house to settle gently into the re-established wetland and estuary edge,” the jury said.
Two “simple, modest volumes” make up Havenview House by Queenstown practice Kerr Ritchie. Sited on a hillside overlooking Nelson, the dwelling, which was designed for a young family, “reflects a richness of exchange between client and architect”. Entry is via a sunken courtyard into the timber-clad form while the two-storey wing is clad in steel. The jury commented on the home’s adaptable spaces which, it said, will “accommodate varying stages of family life.”
The well-documented extremes of weather on the West Coast were taken into consideration in the design of the Charleston Bach, by Ian Cumberpatch Architects of Christchurch. This holiday home is “inherently linked to its environment through its materiality”, the jury said. Local stone has been used to create a central fireplace and exposed steel structural elements lend a pleasing sense of strength and permanence to the design.
Board-and-batten cladding is a simple yet timeless element in New Zealand vernacular building and its long-term aesthetic appeal and functionality is integral to the design of St Arnaud Cottage, by Peter Wood Architect. A holiday retreat that appears to emerge from the Nelson Lakes bush, the cottage was recognised in the Enduring Architecture category, which is restricted to buildings constructed at least 25 years ago. The jury was also charmed by the interconnected spaces drenched in natural light. Large glazed areas allowed views of the surrounding bush. “It is easy to see that this relaxed and comfortable cottage is still a much-loved place,” the jury said.
All winners of 2013 Nelson/Marlborough Architecture Awards are eligible for consideration for the top tier of the annual Architecture 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.