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Southern Architecture Awards – Winners Announced

Twenty-three projects have received awards in the 2020 Southern Architecture Awards, a peer-reviewed awards programme run by Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA).

The award-winning projects demonstrate the breadth of work undertaken by architects in the Southern Branch of the NZIA, which covers Otago, including Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes district, and Southland.

Winners include an aquatic centre in Wanaka and office fit-outs in Dunedin, a restaurant in Arrowtown and a wine tasting room in Bannockburn, University of Otago lecture theatres and a timber company’s showcase building in Cardrona, and 15 residential projects, most of them around Queenstown and Wanaka.

The Awards jury convenor, Queenstown architect Stacey Farrell, who was joined on the judging panel by architects Eliska Lewis from Wanaka and Cameron Pollock from Auckland, and broadcaster Marcus Lush, praised the quality of the work submitted in this year’s Awards programme.

“It’s great to see architecture in our region in such resilient good health,” Farrell said. “It was refreshing to encounter so many projects pushing boundaries and embracing new technologies in the extreme climate we call home.”

“Architects, clients and builders are demonstrating that we need to go over and above minimum requirements of thermal comfort and sustainability.”

Two projects in the Awards’ Commercial category were recognised.

At Wanaka Watersports Facility, designed by Alistair Madill Architects, the jury said, “a richly textured and contoured façade belies the tough functional requirements demanded by a project realised in a sensitive environmental zone.”

Wanaka Watersports Facility. Alistair Madill Architects.

“The design’s sensitivity and a generosity of spirit have won over sceptics, and the facility has become a popular community hub,” the jury said. “The building demonstrates the value of architecture that provides valuable social amenity and enhances the life of a town.”

Koura Apartments, by Johnston Architects, is a Queenstown project that “stands out in a town of numerous short-term rental accommodation options,” the jury said. “The clever deployment of bold forms on the steep site means occupants enjoy beautiful, versatile light-filled spaces offering both privacy and peaceful views to the adjacent ravine.”

Koura Apartments, Queenstown. Johnston Architects. Photographs: Simon Devitt

Two awards were made in the Enduring Architecture category, which recognises buildings that are at least 25 years old.

The jury said the University of Otago Archway Lecture Theatres (1974) by McCoy & Wixon Architects has endured for nearly half a century and “still stands out as architecture that is different and special.”

“Fluted concrete panels and external spiral stairs speak to a moment in our architectural history, but the building remains an accomplished work of significant merit.”

Mills Residence, a 1973 Wanaka house designed by Mason & Wales Architects, benefits from a clever floor plan that gives most rooms lake and mountain views, while shaping a sheltered courtyard and a lagoon-style swimming pool.

Mills Residence (1973). Wanaka Mason & Wales Architects.

“Half a century later, a site that once was bare has blended with the house – the architecture appears to have grown from the earth,” the jury said. “The house has been much loved by three generations. Its enduring worth is testament to the excellent working relationship of a client and an architect.”

Two awards were also made in the Hospitality category.

With Arrowtown restaurant Aosta, Anna-Marie Chin Architects “demonstrates how a simple and affordable design coupled with a refreshingly ambitious spirit can deliver a laudable outcome for a business client,” the jury said. “Even outside opening hours, the restaurant communicates vibrant appeal.”

Aosta, Arrowtown. Anna-Marie Chin Architects. Photographs: Kate Roberge, Isabella Garland.

Te Kano Estate Tasting Room at Bannockburn, by Mason & Wales Architects, is “an elegantly rendered outcome to a complex brief,” the jury said.

“Container buildings often betray their legacy, but here the architectural team has overcome inherent constraints to produce a design tour de force that provides the clients with an iconic built form within the stunning landscape.”

Nine projects were recognised in the awards’ Housing category.

At Willow House, Queenstown, designed by AQA Alessandro Quadrelli Architetto, “bold forms have been layered on a steep rocky site to make the most of views, sun and opportunities for natural ventilation.”

Willow House, Queenstown. AQA Alessandro Quadrelli Architetto.

“The architect’s consciousness of sustainability and thermal comfort means the home’s delighted owners are promised a happy future overlooking Lake Wakatipu,” the jury said.

Bendemeer House at Lake Hayes, by Assembly Architects, “features a simple and minimal design that celebrates the natural characteristics of the building’s materials,” the jury said. “The house sits lightly on the land, with the living area stepping down in response to the rolling topography, and communicates through its texture and materiality an inviting warmth.”

Bendemeer House, Lake Hayes. Assembly Architects. Photographs: Simon Devitt.

Scott House Mt Barker, also by Assembly Architects, “seems an unassuming structure backed against a vast hillside, yet the simplicity of the form belies a complex and sophisticated interplay between materials, mass and void,” the jury said.

Scott House Mt Barker. Assembly Architects. Photographs: Simon Devitt.

Ruby Ridge House, Wanaka, by Condon Scott Architects, “is an expertly crafted work,” the jury said, “that stands out as something very special. The use of materials and the treatment of detailing is masterful.”

Ruby Ridge House, Wanaka. Condon Scott Architects. Photographs: Simon Devitt.

Nestled among tall gum trees with views across a bay, Cliff House at Waitati, Dunedin, by Mason & Wales Architects, “has an unassuming presence,’ the jury said, “and the integrity of the design intention is evident in the care taken to minimise the impact on the surrounding environment.”

In Wanaka Crib, designed by Pac Studio, “classic formal and material motifs are combined with subtle variants in the crafting and detailing of traditional materials,” the jury said. “This is vernacular architecture wrought fresh, with a keen eye and alert consciousness – there is certainly a lot to admire in this small dwelling.”

At Lake View House, Lake Hawea, by Parsonson Architects, “art-loving, energetic clients have inspired an outstanding work of architecture. This house is a delightful house – a visitor just won’t want to leave.”

Lake View House, Lake Hawea. Parsonson Architects. Photographs: Simon Devitt

Oliver’s Ridge, Queenstown, by Team Green Architects “demonstrates in an exemplary manner the realisation of a sustainable design philosophy in a large-scale residential development,” the jury said. “Robust exterior materials and rigorous formwork give the house a sense of permanence; this house, one feels, is here to stay for many generations”

The jury said Wanaka House, by Three Sixty Architecture, “accommodates the needs of its inhabitants within a sophisticated and refined aesthetic. The house is composed of peaceful, intimate spaces, and nestles gently in the land.”

One award was made in the Housing – Alterations and Additions category. At Lake Hayes Cottage, by Anna-Marie Chin Architects, “additions to a two-storey cottage nestled into large trees have been expertly handled to enhance the existing building and make the most of the site’s natural advantages,” the jury said.

Lake Hayes Cottage. Anna-Marie Chin Architects. Photographs: Marina Mathews.

One award was also made in the Housing – Multi-unit category.

Arrowtown Houses, by Hofmans Architects, is “a praiseworthy project – a spectacular yet modest intervention in the landscape,” the jury said. “The architects generated a plan that is an expert manipulation of small spaces, with allowances for daylight, provision of inventive detailing, and thoughtful use of materials.”

Three Interior Architecture awards were made.

At Wanaka, Te Pakeke by Fearon Hay Architects, “a winter retreat has been interpreted in a modern way. Mirrored walls, interior doors with disappearing lines, and exquisitely detailed metalwork, combined with warm timbers, contribute to the occupational experience of an undeniably special space.”

Te Pakeke, Wanaka. Fearon Hay Architects. Photographs: Simon Wilson.

Worksafe Office Fit-out, by Parker Warburton Team Architects, is “an energetic response to a challenging technical brief within a heritage context. New work is beautifully integrated with the existing structure, and the sensitively handled adaption provides flexibility and adds vibrancy to a working environment which has a fresh studio-type feel.”

Parker Warburton Team Architects also received an Interior Architecture Award for Dunbar Dental Fit-out. This Dunedin renovation “has been handled with a level of care consistent with the considered approach of client and architect,” the jury said. “With its restrained, but not clinical palette, the office is now a model expression of a professional working environment – a dental practice with a difference.”

Dunbar Dental Fit-out, Dunedin. Parker Warburton Team Architects. Photographs: Yousef Warman.

Finally, three awards were made in the Small Project Architecture category.

Abodo Showcase Cardrona by Assembly Architects is “an elegantly conceived and gorgeously crafted building that exhibits a high level of care and attention to detail in all aspects of its construction and detailing.”

“With this building, architecture is reduced to its purest essence to at once align with and transcend formal tradition,” the jury said.

Sited on a steep and marginal site, Arrowtown House, by Hofmans Architects, “stands out in its street, giving a hint at the unique disposition of space within. Space is expertly handled to maximise the house’s size, and the living areas, lofts and two bathrooms, do not feel at all small.”

Arrowtown House. Hofmans Architects. Photographs: Simon Devitt.

Long Grass House, by Rafe Maclean Architects, the jury said, “strikes a balance between affordability, sustainability, and liveability. There is a sense of fun in this design which carries through from outside to inside. The house evokes a feeling of being on holiday in a home that is occupied the year round.”

Long Grass House, Wanaka. Rafe Maclean Architects. Photographs: Simon Devitt.

The 2020 Auckland Architecture Awards is a programme of Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects, supported by Resene. All award-winning projects will go forward for consideration in the New Zealand Architecture Awards, which will be announced in early November.

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