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Wellington Student Wins National Design Award

23 November 2006

Wellington Student Wins National Design Award

Victoria University School of Architecture student Claire Sharpe has been awarded the 2006 New Zealand Institute of Architects Dulux Student Design Award.

Claire’s project was selected from 12 national finalists, drawn from New Zealand’s three schools of architecture – University of Auckland, UNITEC New Zealand and Victoria University of Wellington.

Her project, Activating Urban Ephemerality, examines notions of urban planning and activation through the design of an open air theatre in the centre of Wellington, where Pigeon Park/Te Aro Park and The Oaks centre are currently sited. The design serves as a cultural hub for events in the city, with space for events, arts administrators and public viewing. The project seeks to create an architectural event, rather than an end result, where the spectator becomes part of the act.

The judges’ citation read:

“The judges praise the winning entry for the strategic selection of site, with the project showing an understanding of the context, and an ability to describe and respond to it.

“This demanding challenge successfully develops a building as a landscape, and uses that landscape to inform, transform and develop multiple programmes.

“The jury was encouraged by the graphic representation of the building in use and while it acknowledged some unresolved issues, these were minor in terms of the overall conclusions.

“The complex takes hold of and encourages the public to communicate with the urban landscape, and develops a strong neighbourly bond with the street and surrounding buildings.

“In short, this design gives without taking away.”

The award, held annually since 2002 by the NZIA, showcases and acknowledges design excellence in students of architecture. The award is sponsored by Dulux New Zealand. Dulux Product Manager – Trade & Colour Renay Murray said: “Dulux recognises the importance of creativity in design
And we are delighted to play our part in championing the emerging talent within New Zealand’s architectural community.”

Four finalists from each of the three schools of architecture are selected, based on a design project undertaken by all students of architecture in their fifth year of study.

Each of the 12 finalists presents their work to a panel of judges – this year comprising NZIA President Ian Athfield, Andrew Patterson of Auckland practice Architects Patterson and Dr Sandra Kaji-O’Grady, Head of School of Architecture, University of Technology Sydney. The winner receives a $5,000 scholarship.

Claire, who has recently joined Warren and Mahoney Architecture in Wellington, plans to use her scholarship to travel through China, visiting new and old architecture.


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