Civic rejuvenation a theme of Southern Architecture Awards
15 November 2013
Buildings that acknowledge a rich colonial heritage were celebrated in the 2013 Southern Architecture Awards, announced at Remarkables Primary School in Queenstown on Friday, 15 November.
The 12 award-winning projects span a number of architectural types, ranging from public buildings such as museums and bus shelters, to a gymnasium and study centre, and private homes located across the Otago and Southland regions.
Convenor of the jury, Queenstown architect Bronwen Kerr, said judging was made all the more rewarding because the team was able to visit a few gems, buildings, she said, that “instantly uplift the soul”. One such project was Pitches Store in the small settlement of Ophir, originally built in the 1880s and since refurbished to become a restaurant and hotel. “That was a definite highlight,” Kerr said. “It was wonderful to see how a single building could enhance the spirit of a town.” Similarly, in Cromwell, a new bus shelter and block of toilets, although utilitarian, are the first stage of a project heralding a “rejuvenation” of the public face of that historic town.
Architects Justin Wright and Nick Mouat, along with broadcaster Leanne Malcolm, joined Kerr on the Awards jury. Although there was much debate, the jury shared a similar response to the projects they visited. “There was a nice alignment in the way we thought and felt about the buildings,” Kerr said.
The jury members agreed that the redeveloped Toitu Otago Settlers Museum is a “remarkable asset” for Dunedin. The project unites various structures from different eras into a cohesive whole and does a good job of connecting the railway station to Queens Gardens, Kerr said. “It’s not just a museum honouring the history of the early settlers, it’s also a ‘museum of buildings’.”
While the scale of the museum is large, many of the award-winning buildings had modest budgets. “We gave a number of awards to houses that were not big or expensive,” Kerr said. For example, an energy-efficient suburban home in Wanaka and a simple bach at the mouth of the Taieri River, constructed in just eight weeks, felt so comfortable that the jury just “didn’t want to leave”.
██ NZIA 2013 Southern Architecture Awards – winners information, citations and more photos at NZIA website
Recipients of 2013 Southern Architecture Awards
A building that successfully threads together stands of architectural history is a double Awards winner. Toitu Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin has been transformed into a “living archive” and given a dramatic new entrance area by Baker Garden Architects and Robert Tongue Architect.
In awarding the project in the Public Architecture category, the jury commented that the contemporary glass addition not only provides an “entrance with clarity” but reconnects the museum to the city in a “physical and community sense”.
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum was also recognised in the Heritage category. The same architects had amalgamated a “unique aggregate of buildings” while skilfully managing to hide the “sophisticated environmental mechanics” of a modern museum to deliver a seamless visitor experience.
Smaller in size but just as significant within the context of community, Pitches Store was the second project to feature in the Heritage category. Michael Wyatt Architect’s refurbishment and sensitive restoration of this old stone store had kept the building’s “endearing rawness,” the jury said.
A new gymnasium in a Dunedin college and a modern study centre at the University of Otago were awarded in the Education category.
John McGlashan College’s gymnasium, designed by McCoy and Wixon Architects would, the jury said, lure even the most reluctant student to participate in physical education. With its views over a golf-course and its industrial materiality, the gymnasium “retains its individuality” while sharing a language with a community of existing school buildings.
Mason & Wales Architects’ redevelopment of the iconic ‘Gardies’ tavern recognises the “importance of the social” in the university context. The new Marsh Study Centre is not only a place of learning but, with its café and living area with a welcoming fireplace, is also a place of retreat.
The idea of refuge was explored by the same architects in Taieri Mouth Bach which, along with a bus shelter and public toilets, was acknowledged in the Awards’ Small Architecture category.
Mason & Wales Architects used a simple gable and “straightforward and robust” materials to capture “rawness” in this Kiwi bach which settles into the dunes, surrounded by fishing shacks. “If it were a poem, the building would be a haiku,” the jury said.
A pattern of falling leaves, cut in relief from a rusted steel sheet, brings a poetic influence to two workaday structures near the Cromwell Mall. Mary Jowett Architects’ clever design of this screen to provide privacy for the entrance of the public loo while simultaneously acting as a backdrop to the new bus shelter, achieves “lightness and delicacy” even while using a “robust and enduring” material palette.
Six private dwellings received awards – two in Wanaka, two in Dunedin and one each in Alexandra and Lake Hayes.
Awarded in both the Housing and Sustainable Architecture categories, Acland House by Rafe Maclean Architects is a family home in suburban Wanaka organised around three courtyards providing outdoor shelter from mountain breezes. The house also features hydronic heating in the floor and windows designed to act as “wind catchers” in the hot summer months.
The jury was understandably reluctant to leave when it visited Emerald Bluffs House by RTA Studio, also in Wanaka. The house enjoys views that celebrate its connection to landscape, enfolds as a “beautiful balance of private and collective spaces” and uses a tapestry of materials that “rewards all the senses”.
Further south, in Alexandra, Irving Smith Jack Architects referenced the tent villages of the gold-panning pioneers in a home built in a “raw and boundless landscape”. The home, with its insulated concrete core, tilted fly roofs and planning that is eccentric yet charming is, the jury said, “the original anti-villa”.
The first of the Dunedin duo in the Housing category of the Awards is a strong composition in black and white on Maori Hill. McCoy and Wixon Architects used an internal courtyard to imbue a compact design with a feeling of spaciousness. “Thoughtful and consistent” detailing augments the planning of this home constructed on a tight budget.
A steep site in the hills west of the city allowed Architectural Ecology to design a house that connects strongly with the vertical view of trees. The jury said the design of the Helensburgh Road House is “happily unafraid of complexity”. In keeping with the owners’ eco-friendly philosophies, sustainable timbers have been extensively used in a “multitude of exuberant forms” that cascade down the hillside.
Cedar, masonry and zinc are the material trio making up Lake Hayes Residence, designed by Warren and Mahoney Architects on a steep slope adjacent to a public walkway. The project, which comprises two forms and includes split-level flooring, was praised for its flexible planning which allows it to “morph between a comfortable home for two and a holiday house for wider family.”
The Southern Architecture Awards is a peer-reviewed programme of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. All recipients of 2013 Southern Architecture Awards are eligible for consideration for the top tier of the annual Architecture Awards programme, the New Zealand Architecture Awards. These awards will be announced in May 2014.
The New Zealand Architecture Awards are supported by Resene and judged by juries appointed by the New Zealand Institute of Architects and its branches.
Source: NZIA News & Media
ODT 16.11.13 Acclaim for great designs
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr