2009 Canterbury Architecture Award winners

Published: Thu 22 Oct 2009 11:13 AM
22 October 2009
From spectacular homes to secluded hot pools - 2009 Canterbury Architecture Award winners announced
Homes, sustainable offices, hot pools and groundbreaking education buildings are among designs celebrated in the 2009 Canterbury Architecture Awards.
The awards programme is organised and run by the New Zealand Institute of Architects and supported by Resene. The winners were announced in Christchurch last night.
Jury convenor Crispin Schurr, said there had been a wide variety of entries of a very high standard.
“Some of the projects had been several years in the making and it was very good to see them come to fruition,” he said.
Athfield house
The Clements House, designed by Athfield Architects and set in a dramatic clifftop location above Sumner, was hailed as “this wonderful house” and a distillation of the architectural ideas Ian Athfield has experimented with in his landmark home in Wellington.
Mr Schurr said the property, consisting of three blocks, connected by a fine steel bridge, “creeps” through the site with a series of decks, terraces and staircases, white plastered walls and twisted steel columns.
“It has been a very long design process and the result is a house that is fantastic for living and with amazingly expansive views.”
Canterbury University’s Nzi3 Innovation Institute, designed by Warren and Mahoney and the first educational building in New Zealand to achieve a Five Green Star rating, was a winner in the public architecture category.
“The building has been crafted almost as an engineer would craft a machine,” said Mr Schurr. “It is very technologically sophisticated, well resolved and finely crafted.”
Canterbury Club and Riccarton Tea Rooms
An “avant garde” approach to extending and upgrading a series of listed heritage buildings at the historic Canterbury club by Wilkie + Bruce Registered Architects, was among winners in the heritage architecture category.
The architect was praised by jurors for working within a tight budget, a maze of corridors and a century of building alterations to create an integrated, earthquake strengthened coherent complex.
The restoration of the beautiful Edwardian Riccarton Tea House by Fulton Ross Team Architecture won accolades for the process of care, consideration, single minded dedication and technical skill.
Innovative school building
The redevelopment of Mt Pleasant School in Christchurch, also by Wilkie + Bruce Registered Architects was a winner in public architecture.
Mr Schurr said: “The enthusiastic board and Principal’s innovative ideas about learning have been very well communicated and crafted into a three dimensional form on a tight budget to create something that is both unique and can enhance pupils’ learning experiences.”
Lincoln University’s Landscape Architecture Building, by Sheppard & Rout Architects Ltd in association with Royal Associates Ltd, was also honoured in the category for its cohesive, inclusive feel that helps create synergies for students to learn together.
The Aoraki Mt Cook Visitor Centre, by Pearson & Associates Architects Ltd and Hopkinson Team Architecture Ltd in association, was sole winner in interior architecture.
“It is rather like being in the inner workings of a telescope providing a view that is both magnificent and unexpected,” said Mr Schurr.
Lake Tekapo winner
The Peppers Bluewater Resort at Lake Tekapo, by Modern Architecture Partners, was a winner in commercial architecture and praised for “fabulous integration into the landscape”.
Mr Schurr said that the design had minimised both the bulk of the complex and its impact on the pristine environment and created a very positive first impression for visitors to the town.
Franz Josef developments
The Glacier Hot Pools at Franz Josef and Te Waonui Forest Retreat Hotel, both by Dalman Architecture, were also commercial winners.
The pools were hailed for its curling and folding tiled façade with extraordinary play of light and shadow and for the intimate atmosphere created by the private pools and pavilions located along weaving paths raised above the forest floor.
Mr Schurr said the hotel, a luxury rainforest haven, was unique for the West Coast and allowed guests to really engage with the bush setting.
Commercial winners also included a new office building in Addington, Christchurch, by Wilson & Hill Architects, which has achieved a five green star rating.
“This is a developer building so it is really good to see that it is possible to create a finely crafted building with a sustainable philosophy, and for that to be financially viable,” said Mr Schurr. “It is also the culmination of many years of this developer and architect working together refining and evolving ideas.”
Residential winners
A modernist Fendalton house, by Modern Architecture Partners, was praised as an excellent example of minimalism, both in design and making.
Mr Schurr described the Smith House at Merrivale, by Peter Beaven, which consists of three pavilions as “quite an adventure to go through, exploring the house on the way”.
Honeybone House at Burwood, built to a relatively modest budget by the same architects, charmed the jury with its simplicity.
“This house really demonstrates that good architecture, fine crafting and a wonderful environment for living can be achieved so simply and affordably,” said Mr Schurr.
Wilson & Hill Architects designed two of the largest residential properties. The Scarborough Hill House, overlooking Pegasus Bay, was praised for its “spatial and structural composition” and Denny Martin House, as “a valuable contribution to regional residential modernism”.
Enduring award for brutalist classic
An enduring architecture award was made to Trengrove & Marshall’s 1967 Hilgendorf Wing at Lincoln University.
The jury found that although the power and composition of the original elevations of the building had been diluted by later developments and encroaching vegetation, its significant contribution to the Canterbury brutalist tradition of its era was still clear.
Mr Schurr was joined on the jury by fellow architects Sir Miles Warren, Paul King and Clare Kelly, and Anthony Wright, director of Canterbury Museum.
As well as visiting all shortlisted properties, the judges met with the architects and clients. The buildings were judged against a series of key criteria including their contribution to the advancement of architecture as a discipline and enhancement of the human spirit.
For more award winning New Zealand architecture visit,
About the New Zealand Architecture Awards
The New Zealand Architecture Awards programme was established by the New Zealand Institute of Architects to celebrate the innovation, creativity and excellence of architectural projects nationwide.
The awards are open to all NZIA Practices, and projects can be entered into one or more of 10 categories – Public architecture, Residential architecture – housing, Residential architecture – multiple housing, commercial architecture, Urban design, Interior architecture, Heritage, Small project architecture, Sustainability and Enduring architecture. There is no limit to the number of awards the local jury can make in any category.
The programme has three tiers, progressing from the eight regional awards to national recognition – the New Zealand Architecture Awards – and through to the ultimate accolade, the New Zealand Architecture Medal.
All local winners become eligible for consideration for a New Zealand Architecture Award, decided by a national jury, which includes an overseas judge, in early 2010.
In May at the NZIA’s annual Gala Dinner, the finalists for the New Zealand Architecture Medal will be announced, and the winner named later in the evening. Only one New Zealand Architecture Medal is bestowed each year, in recognition of a single built work.
2009 Canterbury Architecture Awards Judges Citations
Commercial Architecture
NZIA Practice Award For
Dalman Architecture Ltd Glacier Hot Pools
Set in the bush, this hot pool complex was technically challenging with unconventional materials and unusual services requirements. This has not prevented the architect from being inventive, and the result is an eclectic mix of forms and features, aimed to delight tourists. A sculptural wall containing showers wraps the rear side of the building. The play of light and shadow across the curling and folding tiled façade is quite extraordinary, and a structured foil to the amorphous shapes of pools and bush. Private pools with pavilions are located along weaving paths raised above the forest floor, and the site is cleverly configured to be secluded and intimate.
Dalman Architecture Ltd Te Waonui Forest Retreat Hotel
This large complex was conceived by the client as a luxury rainforest haven. It surprises in the way it forces customers to engage the smell, dampness and density of the rainforest setting. The architecture is inwardly focused, as the re-vegetation will quickly engulf the exterior, and incorporates some brave architectural gestures. The thought-provoking complex has raised the standard of tourist accommodation on the West Coast.
Wilson & Hill Architects Limited New Office Building
This office building reflects a culmination of experiences gained by developer and architect. A north orientation, solar shading, variable air volume air conditioning, and high daylight factors have not only helped the building achieve a 5 Green star rating, but also contributed at a fundamental level to the architecture of the building. Controlled indirect natural light floods the open plan office spaces, creating a quality work environment with an expansive outlook.
Modern Architecture Partners Ltd Peppers Bluewater Resort
Thanks to its prominent site, scale and design quality, this resort exercises a significant influence on the first impressions of visitors to Tekapo. The architectural vocabulary of angular, notched forms and a natural product-based materiality is ideally suited to the location. The jury was particularly impressed by the manner in which buildings and indigenous landscaping flow with the natural contours of the site. A variety of unit sizes are clustered in an organic configuration around a central water feature.
NZIA Practice Award For
Wilkie + Bruce Registered Architects Ltd Canterbury Club
This avant garde approach to extending and upgrading a series of Category 2 listed heritage buildings sets an important precedent for the treatment of heritage buildings in Christchurch. The architect has had to work within a tight budget, a maze of corridors, a century of building alterations and many conflicting building, programme and interest group demands. The result is an integrated, earthquake-strengthened, coherent complex comprising both the most important original heritage features and a contemporary extension.
Fulton Ross Team Architecture Ltd Riccarton Tea House
An Edwardian structure of beauty has been restored to its former elegance through a process of care, consideration and single-minded dedication. Much management and technical skill was required of the architect to identify the most appropriate methods of modernising the service areas of the Category 2 building without compromising its integrity. The result is a delight to experience. By finding the appropriate balance of preservation and modernisation, the future of this heritage building has been secured.
Interior Architecture
NZIA Practice Award For
Pearson & Associates Architects Ltd and Hopkinson Team Architecture Ltd in association Aoraki Mt Cook Visitor Centre
The visitor centre is a fit out and display within an existing mountain style steep roofed building.
The first view of the mountains down the length of the main gable is focussed and concentrated by a succession of metal circles to dramatic effect. Squares with ice crystal patterns hang on each side. The end gable is extended to make a staircase to the ground floor display.
The centre overlooks a circular landscape of huge rocks and a dry riverbed. It must be the country’s most outstanding visitor centre.
Public Architecture
NZIA Practice Award For
Wilkie + Bruce Registered Architects Ltd Mt Pleasant School
A comprehensive redevelopment of an existing school has resulted in a light, fun, appropriately scaled learning environment with a nautical flavour. Flexible shared common areas provide variety and relief from the classroom environs. A tight budget has been met with innovative thinking to create functional and effective solutions.
Sheppard & Rout Architects Ltd in association with Royal Associates Ltd Landscape Architecture Building
The exterior of this contemporary addition to an established campus is in traditional brick, delicately yielded and folded to expose interior spaces. The interior procession of materiality from earth to sky provides an enjoyable experience, the enveloping warmth of brick wall and floor at ground level opening up to lofty spaces above. By arranging the spaces around a common atrium, there is a cohesive, inclusive feel to the individual rooms that help create synergies for students to learn together.
Warren and Mahoney Ltd Nzi3 Innovation Institute
Conceived as a melting pot for a changing mix of academic and communication technology user groups, this building is expressive as a vessel and interface for innovative exchange. With its array of high tech and sustainable design features, it has also achieved New Zealand’s first Green Star 5 star rating for an educational building. The building’s exterior is a showcase for engineering innovation in structure and climate control; the open plan interior is calm and disciplined.
Residential Architecture - Houses
NZIA Practice Award For
Modern Architecture Partners Ltd Fendalton House
This house exploits every square metre of its unusual V-shaped site.
The street frontage is a high concrete wall. Inside the gate, a tennis court and a drive are surrounded on three sides with more concrete walls. The fourth wall is the house, fully glazed on the ground floor, and louvred above. Entering the house there is a delightful surprise as a wide pivoting door opens to reveal its essence. One room, comprising living, dining and kitchen, is offset at an angle to the bulk of the house. This opens out to a broad deck with great views. The house is an excellent example of minimalism, both in design and making.
Peter Beaven Architect Ltd Smith House
The entry to the Smith House via a high timber framed colonnade generates immediate spatial drama. The colonnade forms part of an axis which becomes a high gallery at the entry and organises the three living pavilions: games/recreation, family living and family sleeping/retreat. These Oamaru stone-clad pavilions with their finely detailed external joinery avoid the static quality of similarly scaled masonry houses. As one juror admiringly noted, 'This is vintage Bevan!'
Peter Beaven Architect Ltd Honeybone House
Working with a relatively modest budget and in a typical middle class suburban context, the architect strings simple forms along a strong axial pathway. The result is an inviting sequence of intimate indoor and outdoor spaces that are enlivened by a controlled palette of colour and materials. This house offers an assured and refreshingly unpretentious alternative to the average Kiwi "feature list-driven" builder’s box.
Athfield Architects Limited Clements House
This wonderful house is set on top of a cliff with sweeping views of the estuary. It consists of three blocks, two of which are tall and one room wide, the other being single storey set at an angle. A fine steel bridge connects the blocks. Thick white plaster containing walls are contrasted with elegant steel window frames and twisted steel columns.
The main living block is sited splendidly between two enormous Norfolk pines. A long twelve year design process has produced a house that is a distillation of the architectural style Ian Athfield created with his first house.
Wilson & Hill Architects Limited Scarborough Hill House
Although affording spectacular views of Pegasus Bay and the Alps, the site’s diamond shape, 30° slope and exacting recession plains presented the architect with challenges. There is a compelling logic to the response, with its three levels descending from an entry/sleeping level, through to family living then to a lower level for guests and recreation. It is the spatial and structural composition, together with the clarity of material use and detailing that make this house memorable. The house has an affinity with its site, which will continue to develop as landscaping matures.
Wilson & Hill Architects Limited Denny Martin House
Offering prospect and retreat on a hillside site, this is a large, modernist home with a confidently articulated concrete primary structure. Deep concrete soffits shade both the guest/recreation first level and family living second level. Vertically articulated transverse walls follow a series of radiating angles subtly faceting the main (northwest) elevation. These give the spaces on each of the main levels varying frames of the panoramic view. The house makes a valuable contribution to regional residential modernism.
Resene Colour Award
NZIA Practice Award For
Modern Architecture Partners Ltd Peppers Bluewater Resort
Controlled, muted tones, together with the earthy browns of the timber cladding, pick out purplish hues in the distant mountain ranges and are sympathetic to their alpine location. These work with the intense blues of Lake Tekapo and the sky, and the natural greys and ochres of the landscaping to create a sophisticated, modern, palette that is a delight to behold.
Sheppard & Rout Architects Ltd in asssociation with Royal Associates Ltd Landscape Architecture Building
Seemingly well behaved from the exterior, the interior of the building unleashes a riot of materials and colour set against a backdrop of traditional brick and softer concrete and timber elements. Unexpected juxtapositions of traditional and contemporary materials are cleverly compatible, resulting in a complete, pleasurable experience.
Wilkie + Bruce Registered Architects Ltd Mt Pleasant School
The architect has chosen to use colour as an element of spatial definition, separating zones of differing functions. Classroom identification through colour, and playful wall relief in coloured windows all contribute to a visually stimulating environment suitable for children.
Warren and Mahoney Ltd Nzi3 Innovation Institute
Here we have a crisp and carefully controlled palette of colours and materials that supports the Architect’s tectonic intentions. Delicately fritted green translucent glass panels span raw concrete plinths; cool, calm interiors are enlivened with splashes of warm bamboo wood panelling and applied glass partition decals. The subtlety of the approach strikes a satisfying balance between minimalism and liveliness.
Enduring Architecture
Hilgendorf Wing, Lincoln University
By: Trengrove & Marshall
Circa 1967. Partially concealed by the vegetation and building additions around it, the power and composition of the original elevations of this building have been diluted. However, the overall result is an intimate experience of quality concrete detailing and relief that has matured gracefully, whilst the looming impact of the whole can still be sensed. The literal adoption of Le Corbusier’s “Les 5 Points d’une architecture nouvelle” makes this building an exceptional contribution to the Canterbury "brutalist" tradition of its era.

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