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New Zealand’s best new buildings recognised

Media Release

Strictly embargoed until 00.05 hrs, Sunday, May 25 2008

New Zealand’s best new buildings recognised with NZIA Resene Supreme Awards

Three outstanding buildings from across the country have been honoured in the New Zealand Institute of Architects Resene Supreme Awards for Architecture 2008.

Hills Clubhouse in Arrowtown, DoC’s Conservation House in Wellington and Trinity Apartments in Auckland were named as winners of the country’s highest award for architecture at a gala dinner in Auckland on May 24.

The institute also honoured acclaimed architect Ivan Mercep with its Gold Medal in recognition of his outstanding career in architecture in New Zealand, which spans over 50 years.

The importance of Wellington’s iconic Massey House, designed by Ernst Plischke and Cedric Firth in 1957, was recognised with an Enduring Award.

National judging convenor Pip Cheshire, of Auckland-based Cheshire Architects, said the winning buildings reflected the fact that New Zealand was increasingly producing buildings of international stature.

“We are seeing a great deal more sophistication in New Zealand architecture,” he said. “While solutions are responsive to the demands of New Zealand, they display a true knowledge of world conditions of architecture.”

Hills Clubhouse, designed for jeweller Michael Hill by Auckland-based Patterson Associates Ltd, was created to seamlessly integrate with the landscape.

Less than a quarter of the clubhouse is above ground, the roof is topped with native tussock and it is built to the highest sustainable principles.

DoC’s Conservation House, in Manners Street, was redeveloped by Wellington-based architecture + from a series of 1980’s buildings including a former cinema. It is now regarded as one of New Zealand’s most environmentally friendly buildings.

Trinity Apartments, by Auckland-based Architectus, occupies a sensitive key location opposite the city’s Anglican Cathedral.

It was praised by judges for its rich streetscape and as “proof that apartment buildings can provide high quality environments and make significant contributions to the urban landscape”.

Mr Mercep, of Auckland, was among founders of the Jasmax practice. The many acclaimed and award-winning projects he has worked on range from Te Papa Tongarewa – the Museum of New Zealand to Auckland’s Samoa House and Auckland University’s magnificent Fale Pasifika complex.

Supreme Awards recognise exceptional New Zealand architecture. They are made annually to projects that have already won a New Zealand Award for Architecture.


High resolution photos of all properties are available on request.

For more information, please contact:
Mark Russell
Ideas Shop
04 381 2200
027 297 0178

2008 Supreme and Enduring Citations

Supreme Winners

The Hills Clubhouse
Patterson Associates Ltd

The pavilion perfectly houses the clubhouse programme involving back of house support, entertainment and observation and makes a splendid divot like sculpture just off the eighteenth green. The expressive use of structural engineering and reflective interiors make a memorable entry to the course and a triumphant nineteenth hole.

Conservation House

An inspired reconfiguring of existing buildings has created a masterful workplace solution for a government agency around a central organising void that orientates the visitor, facilitates better communication between those working there and is an integral part of the building’s programme of sustainability and low energy use. The building’s environmental control systems are cleverly exploited to create a lively and protected rooftop garden, meeting rooms and café. This is adaptive reuse at its best and will be a benchmark for the future.

Trinity Apartments – 429 Parnell Road

Careful analysis of intensive housing typologies and the particularities of the site have led to a clever massing of form and an arrangement of apartments that produces a rich streetscape, a private garden realm within and a good mix of apartment sizes and orientations. The project is proof that apartment building design can provide high quality environments and make significant contributions to the urban landscape.

Enduring Award

Massey House (1957) Wellington
Plischke & Firth

This prototypical office building continues to offer a strong model for city building some fifty years after its construction. The narrow floor plate and cross ventilation through its carefully modelled curtain wall are strong examples which influence contemporary buildings and the sculptural treatment of the Lambton Quay tenancies create a rich streetscape.

2008 Gold Medal Citation

Ivan Mercep is the 2008 recipient of the NZIA Gold Medal, the highest honour bestowed by the New Zealand Institute of Architects. He receives this award in recognition of an outstanding career in architecture, spanning more than 50 years, which has included a remarkable quantum of work of a consistently high standard of design.

Ivan was born in Taumarunui in 1930, graduated B.Arch from the University of Auckland in 1954 and then spent the next six years travelling and working overseas – in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Europe and the Mediterranean.

His return to New Zealand in1960 was influenced by his winning third prize in a design competition for the University of Otago library. He worked with Ian Reynolds at KRTA on various projects for Victoria University and during that time he joined the NZIA Auckland Planning Group and became involved in its endeavours to influence the development of Auckland’s CBD and the location of the proposed motorway.

In April 1963, four members of this group – Steve Jelicich, Graham Smith, Rodney Davies and Ivan Mercep – together with John Austin, decided to form a partnership. Their joint experience of university work enabled them to make a successful submission to design International House, a hall of residence for the University of Auckland. That project won a National Award from the NZIA as did the Ford Motor Company building in Manukau a little later. These early successes were the groundwork for what was to become the large, innovative and successful practice of JASMaD.

Fundamental to Ivan’s approach to design is his unshakable belief in the power of the consultative process. The emphasis on consultation has been the cornerstone of the design success of, particularly, projects developed for client groups which include:
Maori and/or Pacific Islanders. Such projects include Te Papa Tongarewa – the Museum of New Zealand; Te Tuhi The Mark, Art Gallery and Community Centre, Manukau; Samoa House, Auckland; the Marae and Maori Studies Faculty, University of Auckland; Te Pa, Tamaki Drive, Auckland; Mangere Pool and Leisure Centre; Hoani Waitete Marae, West Auckland; ‘The Rarotongan’ hotel, Cook Islands; the Waikato Museum of Art and History, Hamilton; and Fale Pasifika, the magnificent new facility at the University of Auckland.

Eight of the projects noted above have won NZIA awards and, overall, the JASMaD / Jasmax projects for which Ivan Mercep has been the design principal have received three ‘Gold’, eight ‘National’ and six ‘Regional’ awards from the NZIA as well as awards from Creative New Zealand and the Property Council of New Zealand and acclaim from their recipient communities.

While Ivan’s design skills are undoubtedly what he is best known for, his contribution to architecture in New Zealand goes well beyond his built work. He has influenced public opinion with articles published in the New Zealand Herald, in Metro magazine and in Home and Building magazine. He has been an awards judge on NZIA panels numerous times and has judged several design competitions in regional centres.

His ability and willingness to contribute to architectural education has been demonstrated by his appointment by the University of Auckland to the Vice-Chancellor’s Education Review Committee (1987) and as External Assessor School of Architecture (1987-1990) and recently as Guest Critic and Visiting Tutor in Design at the schools of architecture at the University of Auckland, UNITEC and Victoria University of Wellington.

A Jasmax initiative, the Ivan Mercep Staff Development Fund, is designed to assist employees in the pursuit of their education and personal growth.

Ivan’s consultation imperative has seen him as a member of the board of the Auckland Civic Trust (1985-1989); a member of the Ponsonby Urban Design Working Party; a member of the Auckland City Council Urban Design Panel; and, currently, a member of Britomart Urban Design Review Team.

Ivan, a Fellow of the NZIA, was made an Officer of the Order of New Zealand (ONZM) in 1997; nominated by Metro magazine as ‘Aucklander of the Year’ in 2004; and in 2007 he was one of six people who received a ‘Living Legend’ award from the Auckland City Council. He is currently Director Emeritus at Jasmax Limited and in the office at least four days a week

The award of the Institute’s Gold Medal is fitting recognition of Ivan Mercep’s credentials not only as a consummate architect whose design skills are acknowledged by his peers, but also a timely recognition of him as a significant contributor to architectural and urban design education and awareness in New Zealand in general and Auckland City in particular.


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