Winner announced in annual competition for top architecture students
Lucy Vete of the University of Auckland has won the annual design competition for final year students from the country’s
schools of architecture.
Lucy, who attended Western Springs College before commencing the five-year architecture course at the University of
Auckland, was announced as the winner of the 2017 NZIA Central Innovation Student Design Awards after two days of
presentations and judging in Auckland.
The Student Design Awards, which is recognised as New Zealand’s leading student architecture competition, is contested
by four finalists from each of the three schools of architecture – the University of Auckland, Unitec, and Victoria
University of Wellington.
As winner, Lucy received $5,000 and a travel grant for her project, an imagined architectural scheme in Tonga. The
awards jury, which was convened by Institute of Architects President Christina van Bohemen and included Auckland
architect Jon Rennie and Sydney architect Rachel Neeson, said Lucy’s entry was “an impressive exercise in cultural
exploration and site development”.
“The imaginative project was coherently realised and excellently presented, and the architectural spaces it proposed
were well-drawn and compelling.”
The awards jury gave two Highly Commended awards, which came with a $1,500 travel grant. One Highly Commended Award went
to University of Auckland student LeWin Choy, who attended Hamilton Boys High School.
The jury described LeWin’s project, which comprised physical models, videos and computer renders, as a “sophisticated
response to the challenge of presenting a multidimensional narrative”.
The second Highly Commended Award went to Victoria University of Wellington student Gerard Finch, who received his
secondary school education at Dunstan High School.
Gerard’s project, which proposed a modular system designed to make building construction more efficient and less
wasteful, was praised as a very impressive attempt to find a solution to a significant problem.
“It is to be hoped that Gerard’s exhaustive work has a continued life beyond this thesis project,” the jury said.
Jury convenor Christina van Bohemen said the jury was inspired by the work of the students, and heartened that such
talented young people were about to enter the architectural profession.
“There was a huge variety in the type, scale and nature of the projects the jury considered, and a refreshing presence
of imaginative projects that dealt with complex issues such as pollution and the provision of clean water, building in
sensitive eco-systems and making better use of suburban space.”
As well as the winning and highly commended students, the finalists in the 2017 NZIA Central Innovation Student Design
Awards were Mustafa Mora and Ayla Raymond Roberts (The University of Auckland); Marisha Aya, Andrew Frankum, William
Howse and Hannah Stephenson (Unitec); Ryan McCully, Stacey Mountfort and Jessica Wright (Victoria University of
The Awards are organised by the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) with the support of the schools of
architecture and co-sponsor Central Innovations, a supplier of architectural design software tools.