Trio of awards for Athfield's capital projects

Last updated 11:27 10/05/2014

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Athfield Architects won a hat-trick with three Wellington projects picking up accolades in the 2014 New Zealand Architecture Awards announced last night.

Athfield shared honours in the education category with Architectus for its work on Victoria University's Campus Hub and Library Upgrade.

It also won awards in the education and sustainability categories for Massey University's Te Ara Hihiko College of Creative Arts, and the planning and urban design category for Lower Hutt's Dowse Square.

There were three other Wellington winners.

Novak + Middleton received the housing award for the redevelopment of the Central Park Apartments in Brooklyn.

Moller Architects received an enduring architecture award for the Moller family house built in Te Horo 30 years ago and Tennent + Brown received a housing award for Torea House in Nelson.

The supreme award, the Architecture Medal, went to BVN Donovan Hill and Jasmax for their design of the ASB North Wharf development in Auckland which was described by judges as an "ambitious experiment in commercial architecture".

The judges said Victoria University's Campus Hub and Library upgrade was an exemplary project which had transformed wasted space into a sheltered and vibrant plaza that provided the university with a social focus.

Massey University's Te Ara Hihiko was described as a "well-resolved machine for learning" and an admirably robust and stimulating building.

It used innovative seismic technology that allowed the timber-framed structure to sway and revert to shape in an earthquake. The building was sure to encourage students to integrate sustainability into their creative practice.

Lower Hutt's Dowse Square provided a much needed public space in an environment that had suffered from neglect.

Athfield Architects "have leavened civic seriousness with playful delight" to create "a refreshing and sustaining community asset".

The judges said Wellington City Council's Central Park Apartments had been transformed from a tired and socially dysfunctional complex by intelligent re-organisation and relatively minor structural alterations.

The 1960s architecture had been given due respect but its scale had been broken down and articulated on a more sympathetic scale.

A ground-level car park had been transformed into a communal park and garages and under-croft spaces had been converted to much-needed community rooms.

"The strategy of fragmenting the apartment complex into smaller clusters has dramatically improved the apartments' safety, seismic performance and circulation, and has promoted a sense of community," the judges said.

"This is a good story of architecture having a positive impact on hundreds of lives."

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- The Dominion Post

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