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Christchurch Architecture Firm Wins Gold At Best Design Awards

Christchurch’s Studio Well is celebrating winning Gold at the prestigious Designer Institute of New Zealand (DINZ) annual Best Design Awards in Auckland on Friday.

The studio received the honour in the Spatial, Residential category for Adventure Whare, built in Canterbury’s Castle Hill and designed by Studio Well Co-Founders Ben Comber and Josh Newsome-White.

It’s the second major accolade for the design which earlier won the Regional Award for New Home between 150m² and 300m² in the ADNZ Resene Architectural Design Awards for the Canterbury region.

“We were a bit shocked to be honest,” said Newsome-White.

“We were up against some great projects with far more budget than us, we definitely weren’t expecting to win gold so we’re super stoked.”

Comber added “An award like this is huge for a young design studio like us, we’re really focused on achieving wellness and sustainability through our projects and are excited about continuing to evolve this.”

The designers say the exterior form is a reinterpretation of traditional A-Frame huts that are renowned for their alpine aesthetic.

Nestled between two established trees, the cloaked form provides shelter from the elements and privacy to the south. In dramatic contrast, the roof peels up revealing the exposed rafters and expansive timber framed glazing that provides an intimate connection with the native bush reserve to the north.

The form creates a large, voluminous living area that maximises the country views, while flat-roofed bedroom wings spill off the central space, providing quiet and private areas that can be used for relaxing at night.

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The designers added a loft perched over the service areas, which provides room for spillover guests.

And aesthetics weren’t compromised. The designers chose to enrich the interior with the warmth of the exposed timber roof panels, plywood wall linings and renewably grown cork flooring.

These are playfully accented with pops of colourful joinery, natural slate surfaces and brass light fittings.

The Best Design Awards recognise the strongest New Zealand work produced across eight core categories: Digital, Product, Toitanga, Graphic, Moving Image, Spatial, Value of Design, and Public Good.

“I can speak on behalf of this year’s convenors and judges when I say we were blown away by the calibre of entries,” DINZ chief executive Cathy Veninga said.

“The winning projects told important, engaging stories and dealt with confronting themes, offered innovative solutions to real problems, and pushed the boundaries of what design can do, whilst showing exceptional technical craft.”

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