Design News

Auckland’s best buildings named

Article by Homes to Love

Auckland best buildings have been announced in the Auckland Architecture Awards 2016, ranging from a pink bike path built from an old motorway, to an idyllic small housing project

Winners in the Auckland Architecture Awards announced

Reworked heritage buildings, a new and already much-loved library and a small mausoleum are just a few of this year’s recipients of Auckland Architecture Awards, announced on April 28.

The convenor of the awards jury, architect Michael O’Sullivan, said the winning projects in the peer-reviewed awards programme, which is conducted by the New Zealand Institute of Architects, set the standard for good architecture in Auckland and Northland.

“Our part of New Zealand is blessed with a landscape full of potential for architectural work relevant to its surroundings,” O’Sullivan said. “We really don’t know how lucky we are. The variety of the region’s topography and the transitions between landscapes are the starting points for much of the great work we saw.”

O’Sullivan undertook a tour of all 48 projects shortlisted for Auckland Architecture Awards with fellow jury members and architects Briar Green, Anne Salmon and Patrick Sloan. In total, 112 projects were entered into the awards.

E-Type House, Grey Lynn, by RTA Studio (photo: Patrick Reynolds).

E-Type House, Grey Lynn, by RTA Studio (photo: Patrick Reynolds).

 

New buildings in old neighbourhoods

O’Sullivan said domestic design projects, such as the E-Type House by RTA Studio, Omahu Road and City Beach House, both by Fearon Hay Architects, and ValleyM by McKinney + Windeatt Architects, show how new buildings can be sensitively inserted into neighbourhoods with heritage qualities.

O’Sullivan added that another Award-winner, the Maidstone Studio by bell + co architecture and Andrew Kissell, is a very engaging example of home-building in an inner-city, mixed-use neighbourhood where the challenges of tough surroundings are offset by a zoning regime that allows for buildings to fully occupy their sites.

Housing - multi-unit: Ilico, Stonefields, by Apartments Warren and Mahoney Architects (photo: Patrick Reynolds).

Housing – multi-unit: Ilico, Stonefields, by Apartments Warren and Mahoney Architects (photo: Patrick Reynolds).

 

Multi-unit housing remains weak

The 2016 Auckland Architecture Awards reveal that one housing category remains relatively weak in quality even as its quantity is rapidly increasing, O’Sullivan said.

“Good multi-unit housing is desperately needed in Auckland,” O’Sullivan said, but many of the developer-driven projects of this type are mediocre. “It’s important, given the scepticism around intensification, that Aucklanders are presented with good examples of multi-unit or apartment buildings.”

Two apartment buildings that rise above the pack are Altera and Ilico Apartments, both designed by Warren and Mahoney Architects.

Commercial - Central Park One by Architectus. Photo by Sam Hartnett.

Commercial – Central Park One by Architectus. Photo by Sam Hartnett.

 

Commercial buildings recognised

Another architectural type that has seen much recent activity but yielded a disappointing level of distinction is commercial building. O’Sullivan said that Central Park One, designed by Architectus on a site on Great South Road, is a standout project in a tough category.

On a brighter note, the Awards jury described  #LightPathAKL, a ribbon of hot pink that cuts a trail for cyclists and pedestrians through the heart of Auckland’s ‘Spaghetti Junction’, as “an heroic achievement” that provides a symbol of “optimism, ambition and progression” to the wider city.

Another winning project in the public realm had more than its fair share of criticism before opening to a welcoming reception. O’Sullivan said that Te Pātaka Kōrero o Te Hau Kapua – Devonport Library, designed by Athfield Architects for a site on Devonport’s seaside reserve, “won over many of the knockers with its open, accessible planning, connection to street and park, and low-key impact”.

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