Two Architectus projects scoop top architectural awards

Two of Architectus’ projects were honoured with prestigious awards at the 2019 New Zealand Architecture Awards in Queenstown on Saturday, 9 November. The Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects awards programme recognises the best of New Zealand architecture for the year across twelve categories.

Photographs: David St George and courtesy of Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects

Wynyard Central (E2), described as a multi-layered, integrated ‘place for people’ at the heart of Auckland’s waterfront development, received the Sir Ian Athfield Award for Housing. The jury noted, “In a bold and confident response to a unique opportunity, the architects have produced a sophisticated tripartite multi-unit housing project without local precedent. The prioritising of architectural quality and amenity has benefited the inhabitants of the Wynyard Central East 2 complex while enhancing the public realm of the neighbourhood. The apartment terraces are atypically generous and the inclusion of mews houses is a welcome surprise; on a highly visible site, privacy is well handled, as is ventilation in all dwellings. The successful juxtaposition, around several laneways, and clear articulation of the various forms – pavilions, mews and apartment building – and the rich materiality of the project set a high standard for the development of Wynyard Quarter.”

Part of an integrated, cohesive urban design framework which builds on the character of Wynyard Quarter, Wynyard Central adds and complements the marine and industrial character of the precinct and delivers a thriving development in a waterfront context. The development also recently set a new standard for sustainable living by achieving 7 and 8 Homestar ratings – the first large-scale, multi-unit residential development in New Zealand to achieve such high ratings.

Tūranga, by Architectus in association with Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, won the John Scott Award for Public Architecture with the judges describing Tūranga as a “building of distinction that admirably fulfils its function as Christchurch’s main library, and also, with its strong but not overbearing presence, makes a very important contribution to the shaping of the square and the signifying of the public realm of the central city. The collaboration with Matapopore Charitable Trust and Ngāi Tūāhuriri has been thoroughgoing and influential, informing the experience of whakamanuhiri, the ‘bringing in’ of visitors and their ascent via generous and well-crafted stairways, which rise through a light-filled atrium in a manner suggestive of the passage of the mythical hero Tāwhaki to the heavens. The design offers a range of well-considered and appropriately differentiated spaces, complemented by sympathetic material selection, and the pleasure of occupation and use is enhanced by the library’s service as an urban balcony, offering perspectives on and connections to the surrounding city, Christchurch’s rural hinterland and the Southern Alps.”

Project Principal Carsten Auer says “this award is testament to the power of true collaboration – not just between the design and construction parties, but the inspiring initiative by Christchurch City Council to involve the public, and Matapopore Charitable Trust and Ngāi Tūāhuriri, whose influence on the design of the building adds a rich tapestry of ancestry, traditional knowledge and culture woven throughout.”

Tūranga is vital to the redevelopment of a city ravaged by the destructive forces of the 2010/11 earthquakes and responds to the city context, urban form of Cathedral Square, and recognises the importance of tangata whenua.

Design Director Patrick Clifford says “We are exceptionally honoured to be recognised by our industry and peers with these prestigious awards and acknowledge the invaluable contribution of our clients, our collaborators, design partners, and contractors. We also extend our congratulations to all of the winners for 2019.”