Waterfront takes Kiwi design crown

19:12, Nov 08 2012
Wynyard Quarter
CLEAR WINNER: Wynyard Quarter was praised by the judges for its ''order and texture'' through ''a suite of spaces with different functions and moods''.

Auckland pipped Wellington's waterfront and the Christchurch rebuild plans as the best urban design in the country last night.

The top New Zealand Urban Design Awards went to Auckland's Jellicoe Precinct at Wynyard Quarter for its ''order and texture'' through ''a suite of spaces with different functions and moods''.

Convenor of the awards jury, former New South Wales Government Architect, Peter Mould said the project  - stage one of the development of Wynyard Quarter - was an exemplary case of agenda-setting urban design.

In its award citation, the jury said the success of the space is "the establishment of the street pattern and public spaces to give order and texture to the development to come".

"The creation of two new waterfront spaces, Karanga Plaza and Silo Park, linked by the east-west axis of Jellicoe Street, establishes a suite of spaces with different functions and moods and which provide a strong framework for future development.''

The biennial awards are designed to recognise the importance of high quality uban environments.

Karangahape Rd's Iron Bank, the Talbot Park Renewal Project in the east Auckland suburb of Glen Innes and the Wellington waterfront were higly commended in the Built Projects category.

Auckland's masterplan was praised for "addressing the complex development, infrastructure and public realm issues at play in Auckland's central areas in a new and innovative way".

"A particular strength of the plan", the jury said, "lies in the way it has re-imagined how the streets and public spaces in the central area could look and feel if there is a concerted effort to shift towards creating public spaces that will attract people rather than cars".

Mould said the large number of diverse entries made judging this year's awards difficult.

"There were many fine architectural, landscape and planning projects, but the jury was focused on a broader dimension. "We looked for projects which established or reinforced urban initiatives and executed them with demonstrable design excellence," Mould said.

"Urban design is concerned not so much with individual buildings, but with the building of a city. It's about place making, and it's also about the public realm."

Mould said that if a trend emerged from the awards "it was the importance of upfront investment in the public domain'' which set the agenda for future excellence.

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