Awards show strength of region’s architecture

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Twenty-three buildings received awards in the 2019 Waikato Bay of Plenty Architecture Awards, among them several projects that the jury said showed the community benefits resulting from architects’ sustained involvement in urban centre revitalisation.

Awards jury convenor, Hamilton architect Evan Mayo, said it was encouraging to see high-quality public, commercial and educational buildings in Whakatāne, Tauranga, Rotorua and Te Awamutu.

“These buildings are real community assets, and some of them offer valuable precedents for the provision of important services.”

The jury included fellow Hamilton architect Matt Grant, Wellington architect James Fenton and United Kingdom-registered architect Leonie Neuweger.

Four awards went to houses in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui.

The jury said the Pōhutukawa House, designed by Stufkens + Chambers Architects, was “a careful balance of new and old – a small, cleverly crafted house that incorporates materials salvaged from the previous dwelling on site.”  (see accompanying story)

Mount Maunganui’s Split House by Cummings Studio Architects was described as a “suburban home on a busy street that cleverly balances the provision of ocean views with appropriate levels of privacy”.

Visiting the Appleford Residence, by Brendon Gordon Architects, the jury found “a comfortable and informal Mt Maunganui beach house, resplendent with natural light and generous indoor and outdoor living areas”.

Design group Stapleton Elliot’s Matua House was a “finely resolved Tauranga house lovingly crafted by an architect son into a retirement haven for his parents”.

Tauranga won an award in the Commercial Architecture category for The Kollective, designed by Wingate Architects on a challenging former swamp site in 17th Aveneue’s Historic Village suite.

The jury said it was a highly considered building that sat lightly on the land.

“It is one of the first co-working platforms in Tauranga, and will surely spawn many more.”

The Bay of Plenty awards included one for the new museum in Whakatāne, which Mayo said complemented existing high quality buildings, and gave the urban quality of the town centre a real, community-centred lift.  The Whakatāne Museum and Research Centre Te Whare Taonga ō Taketake, designed by Irving Smith Architects, won a Public Architecture Award. The Museum is the second stage of a project that commenced in an abandoned retail store 10 years ago.

“It is the result of planning, patience and the vision and sees a previously under-utilised city asset transformed into a well-used research and education facility,” said Mayo.

GHD Woodhead Creative Spaces won a Public Architecture Award for Rotorua’s Te Aka Mauri Children’s Health and Library Hub, a combined healthcare and library facility that was a “daring move away from hospital-based health practices to holistic health and wellbeing approaches”, said Mayo.

An Education Award went to Design Tribe Architects for The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Precinct Development Ngā Kete Tuku Iho. The Awards jury said this new base for Aotearoa’s pre-eminent carving school “had been delivered with passion and clarity.”

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