Praise for Architectus projects at 2023 Local Awards

Te Aratai College, the Erskine Building at the University of Canterbury and Saint Kentigern School’s new Girls’ Primary School, and Macky Building and Specialist Facility have all won awards in this year’s Te Kāhui Whaihanga NZIA Local Awards programme.

Auckland Architecture Awards

The Saint Kentigern Girls’ Primary School and Macky Building and Specialist Facility – designed and constructed concurrently on the Schools’ Shore Road Campus – were recognised in the Education category.

The Girls’ Primary School marks the eastern Shore Road campus entrance. Like the Jubilee Sports Centre (completed 2009, NZIA National Architecture Award 2011), the building occupies a challenging steep site with its programme well connected across several levels.

“This project is a superb example of the architect’s command of the building section. Carefully working with its context, the new facility comprises a series of learning terraces elegantly stepping down the site. The robust street presence contrasts with a lighter and more permeable perimeter facing the school’s interior. Internal spaces and circulation pathways exhibit a clear planning logic with the library and learning commons at the heart, binding the school together and encouraging interaction. The cohesive sequence of innovative learning environments is an inspiring place for students to be themselves, while staying connected to a larger learning community.”

The Macky Senior School & Specialist Facility forms an edge to the main campus. It expresses the formal organisation and rigour of the existing school buildings, with which it shares the prominent use of brick.

“In dramatic fashion, this new component of a comprehensive masterplan frames the edge of playing fields on one side, while forming a finer grain edge to an internal lane on the other. Robust in appearance and materiality, this building is a recollection of tradition, formality and consistency. The rigour exercised in the modulation of the external envelope is also present in the diagram and consequent planning solutions that allow for the efficient circulation of users across the course of the day. This building projects an identity of confidence, stability and academic intent while taking its place within the wider school complex.”

Canterbury Architecture Awards

Te Aratai College,  a new state-funded co-educational school, won the Institute’s only Education award. Designed to support a learner-centric teaching approach within a built environment defined by a strong sense of place, the new College has regained its status as the preferred high school in the southeastern suburbs of Christchurch.

“One of the last redevelopments under the Ōtautahi Christchurch schools Earthquake Repair programme, this transformative project has not only shifted educational architecture to the next level, it has also created a facility for the local community. The two-level interconnected learning areas are especially well considered, allowing a diverse range of pedagogical approaches. Arranged around a light-filled circulation atrium, shared, collaborative learning spaces respond to their adjacent specialist learning spaces with an efficient design that lifts the soul. The dramatic change this campus has made to the local streetscape is extremely positive. From its welcoming entrance to attractively developed external areas flanked by cloistered overhangs echoing the Oxbridge quadrangle architecture, this school engages with its community.”

The Erskine Building at the University of Canterbury received an Enduring Architecture Award; it was recognised as a building that stands the test of time in terms of innovation and technological advancement and remains an outstanding example of sustainable design.

“The Erskine Building is an enduring example of exemplary architecture at the University of Canterbury. Completed in 1998, the building draws on the original campus developed in the 1960s and consists of two distinct zones of learning — the academic towers for staff and postgraduate research, and the teaching wing for undergraduate studies. Careful use of materials and construction methods, along with manually operated mechanisms for sun and ventilation control, ensure the building remains a valuable academic and social hub for the university community.”

Thank you to the branch juries for recognising our work, and congratulations to our clients, consultants, contractors, design teams, and all award recipients.