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1999 NZIA Student Design Award Winner Announced

The top architecture student in New Zealand was named at a special function in Wellington tonight.

Paul Eaton, from the Victoria University School of Architecture has won the 1999 New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) Student Design Award.

He was chosen from a field of twelve students, four from each of the country’s three schools of architecture: Victoria University, UNITEC and Auckland University. All finalists have just completed their fifth and final year’s toward a Bachelor of Architecture.

Desley Luscombe, Head of the Architecture Programme at the University of New South Wales headed the jury selected to interview all 12 finalists.

“It’s a very difficult task to take four of the best students from each architecture school, choose one and says who is the best,” she said.

“Paul Eaton’s work, however, stood out on four counts: he didn’t lose sight of the building as a whole; he questioned and explored new ideas for the relationship between
the inside and outside in inner city accommodation; he had a consistent approach; and his project had depth of resolution and spatial order.”

“His work stems from research which developed a phenomenological, or tactile, approach. It brings to the fore the need to design for the close focus as well as the broader conceptual demands of architecture. It also questions the requirements of people in relation to each design move and addresses the purpose of architecture on social and cultural levels, without losing sight of the need to form new places in the city that engage with the urban life of Wellington,” she said.

Paul Eaton’s project, titled “Dwelling Between: A Hostel for Transients”, looks at the architectural possibilities of dwelling using transient accommodation to question relationships between public and private, social and anti-social activities on a small inner-city site.

“Interestingly enough, our impressions of all twelve projects changed after we’d interviewed each student about it,” says Desley. “All finalists chose to look at problems not initially apparent in their drawings – impressive evidence of how far they’d come during five years of study and thought.”

The jury also awarded three Commendations to Susan Hillery (Auckland), Juliet Harris (Victoria) and John McIntyre (Victoria).

The winner of the NZIA Student Design Award now looks forward to using a $5000 travel prize within the next six months.

NZIA Executive Director, Beverley McRae, said the idea of sending a final year student overseas to have a look is an idea with huge appeal.

“The Institute realises how valuable a travel prize is to the industry – the winners of this award in the past have come home and added to the fabric of New Zealand with their increased knowledge and skill,” she said.

“This award highlights the very comprehensive programmes run by the three schools of architecture and the very high level of training involved in each five year. For a student to have reached the end of that five year period is an achievement in itself and we can be confident that each of these finalists will add positively to New Zealand’s built environment.”

The 1999 NZIA Student Design Award is sponsored by Jacobsen Creative Surfaces, GIB, James Hardie Building Products and Resene Paints.


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