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Winners announced in national design awards

Media release – Embargoed until 10.30pm, Saturday, April 5, 2008

Winners announced in national design awards

A waterfront plaza in Wellington and a Manukau City Council project aimed at restoring native plants in the city have been announced as the Supreme Award winners at the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects’ (NZILA) awards.

The 2008 NZILA Resene Pride of Place Landscape Awards were announced tonight (April 5) at a ceremony at Auckland’s Hyatt Hotel.

A total of 47 projects from around New Zealand, ranging from back gardens to motorways, received awards. Prominent entries included Auckland’s controversial Queen Street upgrade and the Northern Gateway Alliance State Highway 1 extension at Orewa.

The George Malcolm Award for Landscape Design, one of two Supreme Awards, went to the Isthmus Group for the Kumototo waterfront plaza on Customhouse Quay in Wellington.

“Working with a simple, bold, contemporary look that acknowledges other recent developments on the waterfront promenade, the Kumototo development manages at the same time to achieve seamless integration with the working heritage of the historic waterfront,” said Simon Smale, a landscape architect with the Department of Conservation and one of the three design judge.

Two other projects on the capital’s waterfront, Waitangi Park and Centreport, also received Gold Awards and the judges were full of praise for the area’s “vibrant” and “contemporary” look.

Manukau City Council’s ‘Restoring Our Native Plants’ guidelines, carried out in conjunction with Boffa Miskell Ltd, received the Charlie Challenger Award for Landscape Planning.

Heidi Monks, the Awards Convenor, said the project had produced a timely set of guidelines which provide real, practical advice to help local residents actively participate in restoring their environment as development throughout the city increases.

The NZILA Resene Pride of Place Landscape Awards are held every two years to honour the best in landscape architecture around the country.

This year’s event attracted a record 97 entries across three categories – design, planning and student.

Winning projects came from regions around the country, including Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, Christchurch, Hawkes Bay and Palmerston North.

“The range of projects was extraordinary, from domestic gardens which many think are outside the scope of landscape architects’ work, to enormous earth-shaping infrastructure projects like the State Highway 1 extension at Orewa,” says Ms Monks.

“One of the difficulties that landscape architects encounter is that people do not understand what we do, or what the term landscape architecture means.

“These Award winners are helping to generate an understanding of what the profession is capable of.”

Commenting on the difference in style of the country’s two biggest cities, design judge Simon Smale says: “As Wellington responds to its rugged climate and topography with a robust, edgy urban design, several outstanding Auckland projects are characterised by a more restrained, polished feel.”

While he says Architectus’ redevelopment of Queen Street, which won a Silver Award, was always going to be “contentious and vigorously debated”, the three design judges felt the project was dignified and restrained.

Special awards included the Resene Colour Award of Excellence which went to SEART at Sylvia Park, while the Northern Gateway Alliance, Waitangi Park, Frazer Baggaley (student entry) and Waitakere City Council’s Green Roof project each received a Sustainability Award of Excellence.

Tonight’s major winners will have the chance to be submitted to the International Federation of Landscape Architects Awards, which recognises excellence in landscape architecture from IFLA member countries.


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