A new bank building on Auckland’s waterfront has received New Zealand’s highest architectural honour and 16 other projects, ranging from an airport terminal in Christchurch to an exhibition pavilion in Germany, and a tiny bach to a busy student hub, have won awards in the country’s premier architectural competition, the New Zealand Architecture Awards.
One trend emerging from this year’s Architecture Awards is the development of new learning environments at tertiary institutions. Architectus and Athfield Architects won an award in the Education category for the Victoria University of Wellington Campus Hub and Library Upgrade, which the jury described as an “exemplary project, tightly resolved on many levels, from campus planning to construction detailing” which “transforms wasted space into a real place”.
Check some of the winners:
Categories: Commercial Architecture Award; Sustainability Award; Interior Architecture Award
ASB North Wharf
BVN Donovan Hill and Jasmax in association
Location: Wynyard Quarter, Auckland
Photography: John Gollings
New Zealand Architecture Medal
The latest in a series of buildings by the same architects for the same client, ASB North Wharf is an even more ambitious exploration of typological possibilities. It is a totally integrated project – an architectural realisation of a workplace philosophy, an exemplar of environmentally sustainable design and a contextually aware presence in a new maritime precinct. The building marries technical achievement and poetic expression, spatial organisation and social purpose. Transparency and inter-activity are the principles to which the design adheres; it is a profound shift from the stolid forms, static workstations and rigid hierarchies of the traditional banking environment. This is design for a digital age in which everything is fluid, including the movement of money. The architecture of the building dissolves workplace barriers and encourages creative encounters; it offers individuals a choice of spaces they may temporarily occupy, and some control over their immediate environment. It accommodates modern workplace practices and influences workplace behaviour in a technologically advanced business sector. In ASB North Wharf we may be seeing the future shape of work.
A robust structure of simple materials carefully constructed and honestly expressed, an array of expressively formed meeting spaces, a light-filled and transparent core, bridges and sweeping stairs that promote movement and chance encounters, are elements of the radical strategy governing the design of ASB North Wharf. Banking is traditionally a business in which people know their place, and keep to it. In this building, workers are encouraged to find their place, and use it for a particular time and purpose. The result is an exuberant workplace with a variety of spaces for big meetings, small meetings, private work, social interaction and relaxation. Many forms and materials refer to or derive from the local boatbuilding industry. The interior of this building – an environment about as paperless as is currently possible – is an ambitious experiment in workplace behaviour and design.
The product of considerable research and the realisation of a radical workplace and behavioural strategy, ASB North Wharf is creatively disruptive of the traditional office environment, let alone the familiar bank building. The architecture promotes interaction, and allows for individual discretion. Intentionally, ASB North Wharf is a pioneering building, and something of a pioneer in its maritime neighbourhood. It is a commercial building, however, and business imperatives, such as staff retention, worker productivity and client engagement and satisfaction have closely informed design strategies. To a very unusual degree, but cleverly not to an overt extent, the building is a sophisticated architectural expression of a commercial philosophy.
Category: Small Project Architecture
photography: Simon Devitt
A compact, two-roomed box floats above a boat storage base, sporting the crimson colour of the flowers of the pohutukawa tree in which it nestles as a gesture of cheerful rebellion against the trend of holiday house beige. There is a serious point being made here as well: the latest addition to an already idiosyncratic little house salutes the multiplicity and architectural disjunction of the traditional bach community.
The encampment-style occupation of the site, made explicit by the discrete positioning of the new building, is a further reference to the relaxed disposition of the vernacular bach. Delightful in itself, the red box is a sophisticated response to context and typological precedent; in the nicest possible and most appropriate way, it may be described as ‘awkwardly perfect’.
Regional Terminal at Christchurch Airport
BVN Donovan Hill and Jasmax in association
Categories: Commercial Architecture and Interior
photography: John Gollings
The architects have delivered a delightful modern building that, with its casual intimacy, easy connection to the runway, and big views of airport activity tips its wing to the memory of the traditional New Zealand regional air terminal. The building allows for and celebrates the bustle of a busy airport, but does so in a relaxed manner that must allay some of anxieties attached to air travel. Service and public areas co-exist harmoniously, circulation is admirable in its clarity, logistics are excellently handled, and the terminal is well integrated with existing buildings. The acoustic quality of the terminal is impressive; the sectional response, which admits winter sun deep into the building, is clever. First impressions of the terminal are good, later impressions are even better. The architecture reveals itself slowly and surely, and its excellence must be reassuring to the residents of Christchurch who will be regular users of the regional terminal.
Compared to the usual box-like and corporate airport terminal environment, the Regional Terminal at Christchurch Airport seems like a big, comfortable room. The restrained use of colour and a material palette emphasising warm, crafted timbers provide a calm backdrop to the daily procession of arriving and departing passengers. Spatial generosity and expressive forms generate a welcoming and legible environment, and the architects’ lightness of touch is demonstrated by the casting of the Koru Club lounge as a transparent cage, and some carefully rationed whimsy. The lighting is sympathetic, noise is muted and way-finding is clear. The interior is both innovative and self-consciously referential to the history of regional air terminals.
Tennent + Brown Architects
photography: Paul McCredie
This contemporary country manor house has a mature and dignified formal composition. Low slung and discrete, it is superbly sited in a horizontal landscape, and exists in a relaxed, comfortable and nuanced relationship with the surrounding garden and the wider environment.
Three wings, separated by slight level and orientation changes, open to the north and west, and are sheltered by elegant, sloping roofs with overhangs supported by painted posts that reference the slender beaks of the oyster-catchers (torea) that inhabit the adjacent estuary. The incorporation of state-of-the-art technology is well resolved, detailing is of a high standard, and the house boasts considerable amenity.