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Patrick Clifford receives architecture’s Gold Medal

Patrick Clifford receives architecture’s Gold Medal

The New Zealand Institute of Architects has conferred its top honour, the Gold Medal for career achievement, on Patrick Clifford, a director of the Auckland firm Architectus.

“Under the design leadership of Patrick Clifford, Architectus has established a reputation for outstanding performance,” the Institute of Architects says. “There is an understated confidence to Architectus’ work. The practice’s buildings take their place in the cityscape with urbane and assured authority, and they possess a rare architectural quality – they make the buildings around them look better.”

Ian Athfield, the doyen of New Zealand architects, says Clifford is hugely respected within his profession.

“Patrick is the most consummate architect I know,” Athfield says. “He is extremely consistent. He conducts his office and he does it very, very well.”

Clifford, together with his long-time colleagues Malcolm Bowes and Michael Thomson and more recently Carsten Auer, is responsible for a series of highly acclaimed buildings in most of the areas in which New Zealand architects practice.

The firm’s record includes civic buildings such as Waitakere Civic Centre and New Lynn Station in Auckland; university buildings such as the new Campus Hub at Victoria University of Wellington (with Athfield Architects); school buildings such as the St Peter’s College Middle School in Newmarket and St Cuthbert’s College Performing Arts Centre in Epsom; sports building such as the West Stand at Jade Stadium, Christchurch (with Athfield Architects), and gymnasiums at Auckland Grammar School and St Kentigern School; commercial buildings such as Auckland’s Telecom Central; and residential buildings such as Trinity Apartments in Parnell and Te Puni Village at Victoria University.

Architectus has also been active in urban design and planning, having designed the framework for Wynyard Quarter on the Auckland waterfront and several streetscapes in the city.

In conjunction with the Australian practices with which it is aligned under the Architectus brand, it has latterly developed expertise in the specialist area of law court design. Architectus was a finalist in the competition for the International Criminal Courts in The Hague, and designed the new Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law in Brisbane.

“The record really does speak for itself,” the Institute of Architects says. “In the context of New Zealand architecture Clifford’s batting average is Bradmanesque.”

Auckland architect Marshall Cook, himself a recipient of an Institute of Architects Gold Medal, says Architectus will be recognised as one of the most significant New Zealand practices of its generation.

“The practice will rise to the top because it has been leading the change in the quality of our architecture.”

Clifford grew up in Wellington and attended St Patrick’s College (Town) before enrolling, in the mid-1970s, at the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture, where he met his future Architectus partners Malcolm Bowes and Michael Thomson. After graduating he worked in the Wellington office of the old Ministry of Works, and then moved to London, gaining experience, as did Bowes and Thomson, with several architecture practices in the city.

On their return to New Zealand Clifford, Bowes and Thomson established the Architectus partnership in Auckland shortly before the 1987 Crash. The practice survived the recession, and gained attention with the Clifford-Forsyth House (1996), the University of Canterbury Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Sciences Building (1998) and St Peter’s College Technology Building (2001). Architectus is now one of New Zealand’s larger and most-awarded architecture practices.

In awarding Clifford the Gold Medal the Institute of Architects noted his contribution within and beyond his profession.

“Patrick Clifford’s career is characterised by his engagement with his colleagues and his society. He has taught at the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture, he has been a member of Auckland’s Urban Design Panel, and he has served as President of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. He has given his time to numerous causes, and has reliably stepped forward to make the case for architecture in public and political forums.”

“In all of these instances Patrick’s generosity has been matched by his acuity and his integrity. It has served his profession well to have had Patrick making such an eloquent and considered case for architecture, just as it has served his clients well to have had Architectus designing such elegant and accomplished buildings, and such sympathetic urban environments.”


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