Winners revealed: 2017 Western Architecture Awards

Architecture , News • Views: 41

Eight projects have received recognition in the 2017 Western Architecture Awards, held at The Chalet in Palmerston North on Friday 19 May.

The awards jury was led by Palmerston North architect Agneesh Brahmbhatt, who was impressed with the overall quality of work.

The jury, which included architects Craig Dalgleish and Dominic Glamuzina, and ‘lay juror’ Jill Wild, a freelance journalist for The Dominion Post, visited each shortlisted project to determine the qualities of each building first-hand.

Three residential alteration and addition projects received awards. Brahmbhatt said each was “very contextual and offered apt solutions to each client’s brief”, and that the smaller projects visited were “pocket rockets” that offered high quality design solutions to their clients.

Commercial Architecture Award

PKW Offices by Elliott Architects

The stair and its dual expression – connection to the people (whakapapa) represented by the timbers from the ancestral lands, and connection to the land via the expression of the earth mother/sky father creation story – placed a strong narrative in the centre of the building. Such a direct use of narrative can be a bit thin if the architectonics don’t back it up but it was evident that the architects had taken some care working with the building’s constituents to develop the expression of narrative.

Education Award

Northern Health School by Stephenson & Turner

Sitting on the edge of the playing field gave the building connection while also providing identity, and a safe haven for anxious pupils. The use of structure to modulate space provides little moments of articulation in an otherwise open space, and the acoustics, or in a sense, the lack of them, reinforce, allow and enhance de-escalation strategies.

Housing – Alterations & Additions Awards

Barbour House by Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner Team Architects

This re-working of a 1970’s coastal house is the product of generous resourcing. The architect has cleverly held on to some of the existing building and worked it into the new ensemble, lending it a sense of time and place and a pleasing humility. This is seen also in the ease of space planning; the family can be together or apart, yet are almost always aware of each other. It is its subtle touches, which can’t be photographed, that lift this house above the photogenic.

Karina House by Gibbons Architects

This is an elegant reworking of a 1980’s family home. A deep personal connection to the dwelling, site and client could have led to an overworking of the project by the young architect; instead, the result is thoughtful, quiet and mature.

Villa Cuba by Black Pine Architects

Creating a light-filled interstitial space that ‘healed’ the existing disconnect, then linking that to the outdoors is a simple and effective move. The repurposing of found materials from the site gives the project a narrative. The project has been achieved with modesty and simplicity.

Interior Architecture Awards

IVHQ Office by Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner Team Architects

An exciting and vibrant sequence of spaces speaks of the culture of the client organisation without being contrived. The project is a juxtaposition of the raw and cooked: an honest treatment of the structure provides a great counterpoint to the finer insertions into the space.

Resene Colour Award:
Colours do much of the design heavy lifting in this revival and re-purposing of a former retail space as a bright and engaging modern office.

Planning & Urban Design Award

Massey Campus Development Plan by CCM Architects, McIndoe Urban and Isthmus

CCM, McIndoe Urban and Isthmus have crafted a very thorough design guideline, underpinned by principles drawn from recent urban design thinking. Their document argues for careful attention to the spaces between buildings, and the edges of those buildings themselves. This is in nice contrast to the apparent current clamour for iconic buildings, procured by institutions looking to make a splash. The Massey campus plan advocates for development that works with the existing loose-grained modernist landscape campus setting, and seeks activation through careful consideration at ground level of people and their interactions.

Small Project Architecture Award

Stratford District Council Library Redevelopment by Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner Team Architects

The library has been opened up to the street on one side and the public plaza on the other. These simple connections, in a sense, make a living room for the town. Libraries have changed; they no longer aspire to be the classical and silent reading room where eyes are lowered and foot falls are silent. They now seek the vibrancy, diversity and discussion that the architect has delivered.

Resene Colour Award:
Bright colours on the exterior serve to give Stratford Library a community presence, and on the interior colours are intelligently deployed to aid navigation and support the zoning strategy underpinning the library’s layout.

All winners of the 2017 Western Architecture Awards are eligible for shortlisting in the New Zealand Architecture Awards, which will be decided later in the year, and announced in November.