The 2012 winners of the New Zealand Architecture Awards were announced yesterday by – who else – the New Zealand Institute of Architects.
The Awards, in their words, “provide a snapshot of the best of New Zealand architecture each year and showcase the work of NZIA Practices.” The twenty winners were chosen from those who earlier won themselves a Local Architecture Award. And one of these will get the big trifecta when the 2012 New Zealand Architecture Medal recipient is announced on 25 May.
A few aspects of this year’s awards particularly stuck out:
The four winners in the Residential category were, in typical understated kiwi fashion, houses that “didn’t strive to stand out” but were too hard to ignore all the same. It doesn’t have to be a tribute to Picasso to win – beautiful and accepting of its surroundings does more than nicely.
A number of Auckland Council projects picked up accolades also. The design for Wynyard Quarter, the Art Gallery and the New Lynn transport redevelopment were among them. The latter is a particular favourite of mine, having drowned many a time waiting for a train at the old station.
Auckland Council was quick to issue a statement celebrating their projects’ achievements, and fair enough. Absent from their release however was convenor of judges Hugh Tennant’s disappointment in the lack of medium or high density projects presented (“these are building types we desperately need to be good”). If Auckland is indeed heading down the compact city route then he is absolutely right.
Something else that sticks out? This café built on a mountain ridge:
The judges’ citation specified “wind and snow loadings, site access and sheer buildability in a location requiring the aerial delivery of materials” as some of the hurdles faced when building the Knoll Ridge Cafe. (Spell-check be damned – ‘buildability’ might just be my new favourite word.)
Also the HOME New Zealand 2012 Home of the Year, designed by Herbst Architects, picked up another accolade – and there’s not much I can say about this dream house that this video doesn’t already:
One glance at the winners shows an abundance of very talented designers who also recognise the need for practicality. In a tough economic climate developers must, more than ever, ‘build clever’ – and it seems our nation’s architects are delivering.
Congrats to all the winners, and you can check out more photos and citations on the NZIA website.