It’s “a powerful expression of solid mass and void” and it’s where our new managers and lawyers are coming from.
The new building housing the Faculty of Law and the School of Management at Waikato University, designed by Opus Architecture, was one of the big winners at this year’s Waikato/Bay of Plenty Architecture Awards.
The awards, announced on Friday night at the Tauranga Art Gallery, featured 19 buildings bestowed accolades in nine different categories.
This prompted awards convenor and Hamilton-based architect Steven Chambers to dip deeply into his lexicon of descriptive language, in order to provide a well-constructed written illustration to compliment the structures.
The university building, one of two winners in the education category, “asserts itself boldly on its corner site, communicating both permanence and quality”, he said.
“It is a powerful expression of solid mass and void, and the journey through the building offers a discovery of space, light and connection.”
The other winner in the education category was Kawerau’s new Tarawera High School, which was designed by RTA Studio, in line with the Ministry of Education directives.
“The school is an inspiring exemplar of architecture embedded in place and community,” Chambers said. “It exceeds the potential limitations of budget to deliver uplifting and authentic innovative learning environments.”
Several well-known Waikato landmarks were also deemed award-worthy. The second stage of the redevelopment of Embassy Park in Hamilton earned the planning and urban design gong.
New public toilets, a bespoke chandelier, a pavilion featuring a “green room” for street theatre performers, gargoyles, and gadgets from the lab of Rocky Horror character Dr Frank N Furter have been added to the space where the Riff Raff statue has stood since 2004.
Chambers described the work by Paua Architects for the long-neglected park as a “necessary urban intervention”.
Another Hamilton architecture practice, Edwards White, received three awards, including a commercial award for the refurbished South Bloc Building on Anglesea St. The building was taken back to its “strong modernist bones” before being re-crafted into a series of light-filled, flexible and enjoyable spaces.
Edwards White also got an interior award for the IT Partners Office Fitout in Hamilton, and a housing award for a Waikato home known as The Splay House, in which “simple sculptural forms radiate around a generous central living court, creating intimate connections between all spaces”.
Cubro, a medical equipment supplier in Tauranga designed by Wingate Architects, was the other commercial award winner.
The Kinloch Club, designed by Patterson Associates, was a hospitality and retail award winner, as was Ignite Architects’ extension and refurbishment of the Papamoa Plaza shopping centre in Mount Maunganui.
A new congregational space connected to St John’s Church in Hamilton East earned a public architecture award. Designed by MOAA Architects, it was “a delightfully unexpected addition”, Chambers said.
The “domestic” architecture categories included seven new houses and an alteration project. Among them were a small Cambridge town house arranged around a courtyard by Christopher Beer Architect.
“Tight budget constraints have driven innovative craftsmanship enhanced by simple material,” Chambers said.
Houses in Whangapoua, designed by Alignworks, and Taupo, by Bull O’Sullivan Architecture, also won awards.
Two other houses won Enduring Architecture awards conferred on projects more than 25 years old that had withstood the test of time.
“The Miller House by [Katikati architect] Rod Smith has been immaculately restored in a way that pays the utmost respect to the original architect’s ideals and the Karewa Parade House [at Papamoa Beach] by David Page, aging gracefully, is almost untouched since its construction.”
The Waikato/Bay of Plenty Architecture Awards are part of a nationwide programme run by the New Zealand Institute of Architects.
Winning projects are eligible for short-listing in the New Zealand Architecture Awards, which will be announced in November.