Refreshed and reworked heritage buildings win multiple awards at Wellington Architecture Awards
At the 2017 Wellington Architecture Awards, announced at Amokura Gallery, Te Papa Tongarewa, on the evening of Wednesday
17 May, 24 awards were handed out to a wide range of successful projects.
With three awards, the refurbished Hutt City Council Administration Building designed by architecture+ was the
most-successful single project. The building won awards for heritage, public and interior architecture.
Alistair Luke, the Wellington awards jury convenor, said the refurbished building, which is at the heart of a wider
civic upgrade for the council, was a “delightful and civilised public environment” and a clear highlight at this year’s
awards. Luke applauded the way the architects had “embraced the heritage values of the existing HCC building of their
own volition”, and the confident way in which a parallel annex and new light-filled atrium complemented the existing
“The project is an exemplar of heritage being recognised for its value, while not being slavishly adhered to,” he said.
“It is a triumph for that but, combined with all else, the incredible complexity of the realisation is remarkably
A number of awards were also conferred upon other practices undertaking the challenge of upgrading heritage buildings
for modern work or lifestyles.
Architecture+ received a fourth award for the design of its own studio, a “clever fitout within the historic Odlins
building”, while Architecture Cubed’s “timely and sympathetic” refurbishment of the renowned Centennial Flats has seen
the Heritage-listed buildings returned to their former glory, Luke said.
Warren and Mahoney Architects successful awards night began with an interior award for its Intergen fitout.
“This fitout of a former printing press building neatly picks up on the original industrial aesthetic and transforms it
into a compelling modern office environment,” Luke said.
Warren and Mahoney also received a commercial architecture award for the Terrace’s Aurora Centre, a significant project
that “impressively solves the challenge of unifying two disparate existing buildings into a cohesive whole”.
“It makes a very positive contribution to the broader urban context while satisfying the demanding needs of a
large-scale government ministry,” Luke said.
Warren and Mahoney’s third and fourth awards, for commercial and interior architecture respectively, were for the
southward extension of the terminal at Wellington International Airport. Despite difficult conditions, the extension’s
full-height glazing and diagonal lattice of laminated timber “creates a transparent conclusion to the terminal”. The
judges were also impressed by the way the extension carries its own identity without jarring with the pre-existing
Designgroup Stapleton Elliott received the first of its awards for WelTec School of Construction, “a direct but very
clever response to a very specific brief with a tight budget”, Luke said.
Studio Pacific Architecture, another well-established Wellington practice, received its first award for a major upgrade
to the former William Clayton Building, in Thorndon – the first office block in the world to use lead-rubber base
isolators for seismic protection. The client’s brief for 133 Molesworth Street, as it is now known, required the
lettable area to be doubled, a rationalisation of space to allow modern open-plan environments and a significantly
enhanced street presence.
“The previously recessive forms are now a powerful, lineal presence of folded white spandrel panels and dark glazing
that evokes speed when seen from the motorway,” Luke said. “This extremely challenging project has been very
Studio Pacific’s second award was for a fitout for the Ministry of Social Development. The jury praised the way that the
architects made “difficult floorplates work very well”, and the way “expressive finishes and colourways that distinguish
the floors and create clear orientation”.
It wasn’t just well-established practices winning awards this year. First Light Studio, a practice started by recent
graduates of the Victoria University of Wellington School of Architecture, received two awards. The practice’s Seatoun
House was a “small project, delivered on an equally small budget”, Luke said.
“It signals an alternative to the profligacy and sprawl that are otherwise undermining our urban and suburban
First Light Studio’s Wairarapa Hay Barn is a “wedge-shaped” house that picks up on the rural shed forms. Luke described
it as a “liveable, warm and harmonious home that is clearly perfectly pitched to its owner’s needs.”
Eight awards were given this year across three housing categories, with the jury especially impressed with two
small-in-size renovations to compact older houses.
Of Mary Daish Architect’s Mount Victoria House Alteration the jury said: “Attention to the nuances of occupation,
anthropometrics and the craft of making makes this contemporary addition to the existing villa a delight.”
Parsonson Architects’ Glenbervie renovation was described as a “finely crafted reworking of a small, pre-1900s
workingman’s cottage that cleverly orchestrates the home across three compact scaled split levels”.
Two awards were also conferred for multi-unit housing.
Luke said Tennent + Brown Architects’ Home of Compassion Sisters’ Housing was a “charming collection of homes that
employs a restrained composition of materials, with their scale and humanity articulated externally via a switching
He also said that the Kotuku Flats Upgrade by Opus Architecture was an “exemplary” upgrade to a very utilitarian and
dilapidated base of existing bedsit apartments in four blocks.
“This is a truly outstanding example of a little being made to go a very long way in a critical housing sector.”
In the housing category, Luke described Novak+Middleton’s Vineyard House as a “low slung pavilion-like house that
responds to the client’s wishes for a modernist expression with minimalist detailing and expansive views to its site and
Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects Waikanae House appeared to be a simple composition of boxes, but upon entering and
moving through it, the jury found “subtle complexities and a deft handling that responds to the site and the client
Kirkway House, Designgroup Stapleton Elliott’s second award winner, sits “purposely on an elongated seafront section”,
the jury said. The texture of the home, which was derived from the use of zinc shingle “scales”, shuttered concrete
walls and timber, was also appreciated by the jury.
The Awarua Street Residence, by Foundation Architects, was a clever response to Wellington’s sometimes challenging
“Thoughtfully wrapped around a private outdoor court this compact infill home on a quintessential Wellington hillside
site steps assuredly over three terraces tailored neatly to the underlying topography,” Luke said.
A particular highlight for the jury this year was seeing the two projects nominated for enduring architecture awards,
which are given to projects more than 25 years old that have withstood the test of time.
“Both are remarkable works – and both highlight the fact that the passage of time doesn’t dull the brilliance of
original design thinking,” Luke said.
The Uren House, designed in 1965 by architect Reg Uren for his brother Ron – and the only house the architect designed –
was on project honoured. “The genius of this enigmatic house matches the enigma of its architect,” Luke said. “This is
one of New Zealand’s finest modernist residential works, surpassing in composition and detail many that are better
Saint Patrick's College Chapel, Silverstream (1975) William Pearson, Architect also received an enduring award. “This a
symphony of tightly thought out and dignified architecture that reflects the designer’s deep understanding of movement,
liturgy and international works of similar calibre,” Luke said.
Alistair Luke was joined on this year’s jury by Wellington architects Andrew Sexton and Anne Kelly, lay juror Helen
Sutch, and visiting Auckland architect Nicola Herbst.
The winners of Wellington Architecture Awards are eligible for shortlisting in the New Zealand Architecture Awards, the
results of which will be announced in early November.
Resene Paints has been a proud sponsor of the NZIA’s awards programmes since 1991.
Complete list of winners by category
133 Molesworth Street by Studio of Pacific Architecture
The Aurora Centre by Warren and Mahoney
Wellington International Airport Limited Terminal South Extension by Warren and Mahoney
Uren House (1965) by Reginald Uren, Architect
Saint Patrick's College Chapel, Silverstream (1975) by William Pearson, Architect
WelTec School of Construction by Designgroup Stapleton Elliott
Hutt City Council Administration Building Refurbishment by architecture +
Centennial Flats by Architecture Cubed
Kirkway House by Designgroup Stapleton Elliott
Wairarapa Hay Barn by First Light Studio
Awarua Street Residence by Foundation Architects
Waikanae House by Herriot Melhuish O'Neill Architects (HMOA)
Vineyard House by Novak+Middleton
Housing - Alterations and Additions
Mount Victoria House Alterations by Mary Daish Architect
Glenbervie Renovation by Parsonson Architects
Housing - Multi Unit
Kotuku Flats Upgrade by Opus Architecture
Home of Compassion Sisters’ Housing by Tennent+Brown Architects
Hutt City Council Administration Building Fitout by architecture+
architecture+ Office Fitout by architecture+
Ministry of Social Development Fitout by Studio of Pacific Architecture
Intergen Fitout by Warren and Mahoney Architects
Wellington International Airport Terminal South Expansion by Warren and Mahoney
Hutt City Council Administration Building Refurbishment by architecture+
Small Project Architecture
Seatoun House by First Light Studio