If architecture holds a mirror to society then the winning buildings in the 2017 Nelson/Marlborough Architecture Awards reflect a region with a wide range of interests and a desire to commission buildings of enduring worth.
At the awards event, held on 5 May at Nelson’s Suter Art Gallery–Te Aratoi o WhakatÅ«, buildings for recreation, art, education and exhibition were acknowledged. A number of houses also received awards, reinforcing the region’s reputation for high-quality, architect-designed homes that sit comfortably in the local landscape.
“This year’s awards highlight both the variety of work that architects undertake in our region as well as the skill, passion and attention that they lavish upon their buildings,” said awards convenor Richard Carver.
“In each case, the 10 winning buildings have been well thought-through and carefully resolved by their architects. They admirably meet each client’s brief and are placed with great care on their respective sites.”
Carver was impressed with Te Matira, a house designed 40 years ago by Nelson architect Ian Jack, which received an Enduring Architecture Award.
“As good architecture does, this house has aged gracefully and become better with time,” Carver said. “My fellow judges and I hope that all this year’s award winners enjoy similarly long futures.”
Carver was joined on the jury by Motueka architect Gabrielle Bell, Wellington architect Judi Keith-Brown, and Nelson landscape architect Luke Porter.
The Suter Gallery was not just the venue for this year’s awards – it also received a Heritage Architecture Award and a Public Architecture Award.
The gallery, which was built in 1899, has been strengthened and extended with a café, foyer and theatre. The jury described the work of the architects, Warren and Mahoney and Jerram Tocker & Barron working in a joint venture, as a “triumph” and praised the way the two heritage buildings were retained and organised in the new layout.
At Kaikoura Museum, the interior architecture by Pearson & Associates received an award. “This is an inviting and intriguing museum,” the jury said, “and exhibition design prowess is not the only thing on display. The museum is also testament to the positive relationship established between the client, architect and local community at the project’s inception.”
Nelson College Commerce Centre, a school building shaded and distinguished by “origami-like” folded metal cladding, won Jerram Tocker & Baron Architects another architecture award.
“This is a simple and elegant building that provides a new, clean-lined teaching centre for commerce,” the jury said.
Irving Smith Architects received three Nelson / Marlborough Architecture Awards this year. One was a Small Project Architecture Award for Bach with Two Roofs, post-cyclone additions to a bach at Tata Beach. The new “shade building” and roof extensions to existing huts “extend out to shelter the spaces below and filter light as the trees that once stood on site did”, the jury said.
Arthouse Architects’ reworking of a Nelson apartment also received a Small Project award. “Like the inside of a jewellery box, each space has been carefully thought about and designed, working with the limited palette of materials – oiled oak floors, planes of white, and thin, bending straps of steel,” the jury said.
There is no Architecture Awards category for “best-named building”, but if there was then Bullets & Balls, also known as the Nelson Cricket & Nelson Rifle Association Practice Facility, would surely be a contender.
The building designed by Irving Smith Architects impressed the jury with its innovative construction system, use of natural light and overall economy.
“The minimal budget of less than $1200 per square metre shows that architects can deliver clever, cost-effective solutions,” the jury said.
Three standalone houses received awards this year. One Storey House, Irving Smith Architects’ third award winner this year, “sits beautifully on the hill”, the jury said.
With the Ruby Bay House, the awards jury said Parsonson Architects have reinterpreted the forms and materials of 1950s New Zealand architecture and created “a refreshing approach to design.”
Bronte Road House, by Arthouse Architects, was praised for its sheltered outdoor spaces, meticulous detailing and strong connections with nearby landmarks.
“A close collaboration with the landscape architect has achieved a house that is nestled well into the landscape,” the jury said.
The New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) runs the New Zealand Architecture Awards programme to promote high quality design and raise awareness of the difference good architecture makes to the country’s town, cities and communities.
Award-winning projects in Nelson / Marlborough will go forward for consideration in the New Zealand Architecture Awards, which will be announced in November.
List of winning buildings
Nelson College Commerce Centre by Jerram Tocker Barron Architects
Te Matira by Ian Jack Architect
The Suter Art Gallery – Te Aratoi o WhakatÅ« by Warren and Mahoney Architects and Jerram Tocker & Barron Architects
One Storey House by Irving Smith Architects
Bronte Road House by Arthouse Architects
Ruby Bay House by Parsonson Architects
Kaikoura Museum by Pearson & Associates Architects
Bullets & Balls (Nelson Cricket & Nelson Rifle Association Practice Facility) by Irving Smith Architects
The Suter Art Gallery – Te Aratoi o WhakatÅ« by Warren and Mahoney Architects and Jerram Tocker & Barron Architects (joint venture)
Small Project Architecture
Bach with Two Roofs by Irving Smith Architects
Apartment 37 by Arthouse Architects
-Story by Newsie