Congratulations to all Friday night’s award winners at the NZIA Architecture Awards! Awards jury convenor, Auckland architect Pete Bossley commented: ”It has been a strong year in New Zealand architecture, and the buildings we saw amazed and enticed us. It was a privilege to visit them, and a challenge to judge them.” Here are the new houses and alterations that won awards on the night.
Sir Ian Athfield Award for housing
Lyttelton Studio Retreat by Bull O’Sullivan Architecture
Citation: This building is a labour of love and a testament to the design capacity, bloody-minded commitment and appetite for sheer hard work of its architect. Perched on a Lyttelton hill the “studio retreat” – the ultimate live-work space – offers sublime views of the harbour and port and a beautifully wrought habitation. One is tempted to say the building, with its robust and straightforward shell and its finely crafted interior, perfectly expresses the dichotomy of pugnacity and poetry in its architect’s Hibernian heritage. The architecture is purposeful and pleasurable. This is a maker’s building; although very much of its time and particular New Zealand place there’s something atavistic about its genesis. The building evokes a pre-modern time when architecture was a physical pursuit – the days when, from thinking to drawing to crafting, the architect, seamlessly, did it all. Photo by Patrick Reynolds.
Ostend Road Home by Bull O’Sullivan Architecture
Citation: This long pavilion, or “inside out villa”, is at once bold and relaxed, and clever and homely. The building is two-faced, in a good and appropriate way. Protected from public view by its fully armoured south-facing street elevation, the house opens out to the garden through a parade of full-height folding doors on the north side. A sequence of simple, well-proportioned living spaces is connected by complementary circulation routes: on the one side, a narrow corridor that leans out to offer more spacious passage, and on the other, a generous verandah that reaches out to the lawn and also serves as the house’s welcoming front door. Crafted, rather than merely built, the house is an entirely suitable and very enjoyable home for the young family for whom it was designed. Photo by Simon Devitt.
Red House by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects
Citation: This house is perched on a moment, occupying a rare piece of flat land where suburbia meets the bush. Simply, it’s a sensitively-sited box in the trees, positioned to maximise the arboreal delights of its locale and designed to access natural light. Good planning decisions include forswearing a garage and creating a little piazza between the house and its adjacent shed. The house is wonderfully connected to its environment; from its various levels you could safely swear that you can see the trees, the whole trees, and nothing but the trees. Design clarity and material simplicity provide an appropriate backdrop for the owners’ relaxed lifestyle, and the red corrugated iron cladding offers a witty counterpoint to the green canopy and a nod to the Kiwi vernacular. Photo by Simon Devitt.
Castle Rock House by Herbst Architects
Citation: Sited beautifully above a beach and below a mountain and next to a mature pohutukawa, this bach with its sibling pavilions – one for living, the other for sleeping – is approached on foot along an existing sheep track. The arrival strategy puts cars in their place and signals the architects’ belief that at a holiday house convenience is secondary to the enjoyment of physical experience. The bach does require some exercise of its inhabitants – screens and shutters may be manipulated to provide shelter and shade and warmth and light – but rewards them with a range of animated spaces to suit most moods and climatic circumstances. In this project, the bach type has been pulled apart and expertly reconstructed as a summer encampment, that most historically resonant form on New Zealand’s north-eastern coast. Photo by Patrick Reynolds.
Boatsheds by SGA Ltd – Strachan Group Architects and Rachael Rush in association
Citation: Balancing privacy and transparency, the architects have produced a house infused with life and spirit that perfectly suits its owners and also makes a generous and significant contribution to its neighbouring context. The house delights in its timber materiality; it is warm and enveloping, intricate and comfortable, beautifully detailed but not all precious. It is also a rather precisely calibrated machine for living, a sailing family’s hands-on house in which the impressive operational technology can be tweaked and tuned to keep things on an optimum course. The analogy with a well-crafted yacht is impossible to resist, especially with Takapuna beach scarcely a hundred metres away. Photo by Patrick Reynolds.
In-Situ House by Stevens Lawson Architects
Citation: The house is a stunning expression of a single-minded and very well-resourced commitment to uncompromising quality. Hand-crafted from in-situ concrete and timber, the building has a hefty monumentality ameliorated by ornamental details such as the Victorian domestic architrave pattern cast into exterior walls. The discipline demonstrated throughout the project yields into a controlled sculptural expressiveness, exemplified in the grand, self-supported external helical stair. Materials are deployed assuredly to august effect; there is a depth and stillness to the house, and a sense of calmness that is testament to the masterful control exhibited in its design and construction. Photo by Mark Smith.
Housing – alterations and additions
Clevedon Estate by Herbst Architects
Citation: A house sitting on top of a hill has become the heart of an artfully composed rural estate in this adroit exercise in site-making. The masonry house is now complemented by two exquisitely detailed timber pavilions, the first placed to establish a well-framed courtyard on the entry side of the house. The second pavilion is a pool house so beguiling that the hours spent there will be happily lost without trace. Confidence and clarity are defining characteristics of this project; the architects have exhibited a sure and light touch and one can sense the pleasure they took in the selection and deployment of materials. This is addition, without any suggestion of accretion.
Sod the Villa by Malcolm Walker Architects
Citation: A profound reworking of a large villa on a small suburban site has produced a corker of a house. A new bay window lends symmetry to the street elevation, but behind the front door any expectations of predictable order are subverted. The house is complex and comfortable; battens applied to ceilings serve to unify an intriguing arrangement of private and public living spaces and a happily polygamous marriage of carefully selected and beautifully weighted materials. Occupation is a sensual experience: natural light pours in through new clerestoreys and the interior concrete walls demand to be touched. There’s a levity and playfulness to this house, perfectly in keeping with the wit and generosity of the clients, and also expressive of the confident spatial mastery of the architect. Photo by Patrick Reynolds.