Functional loos win for art and design

Last updated 05:00 01/11/2012

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Wellington waterfront's controversial lobster loos have won an architecture award for their functional and interesting design.

The winners of the New Zealand Institute of Architects Wellington awards were announced last night. The 27 awards covered a range of buildings, from schools and sports centres to homes and heritage buildings.

The orange, tentacle-shaped toilet building on the waterfront, designed by Studio of Pacific Architecture, was a great mix of art and design, said the convener of the awards jury, architect Paki Maaki.

"They are interesting objects that demonstrate a high level of design and art, and are very usable," he said.

"A huge part of architecture is providing a function, helping people with their way of life. As much as people don't really think about toilets, they are something we use every day.

"These ones can be used by all sorts of people, from party-goers to mums with babies in prams, and recreational joggers."

Mr Maaki said the awards demonstrated the scope and quality of the work being undertaken by Wellington's architects in a challenging economic environment. "It's obvious that clients and their architects are doing more with less."

The awards also confirmed the continued strength of residential architecture in Wellington, he said.

Eight houses in the region received awards this year. Jasmax's Ohariu House and Architecture FCA's Rangimarie in York Bay also received sustainable architecture awards.

"Ohariu House has a timeless quality. It feels as though it has been part of the site for many years, which is a sure sign of its success," Mr Maaki said.

"The relationship to the garden was the key briefing idea . . . and has led to garden views through beautifully proportioned windows and doors, as well as exquisitely detailed interiors to sit in and look out from."

Mr Maaki said Rangimarie was a labour of love, built on family land from materials gathered over three decades.

The Wellington Architecture Awards are an official, peer-reviewed programme of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

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2012 Wellington Architecture Award winners:

Commercial Architecture: BRANZ Redevelopment (Porirua), Warren and Mahoney Architects; Telecom Central (Wellington), architecture+.

Education: Amesbury School (Churton Park), McKenzie Higham Architecture; Maidstone Intermediate School Information Centre (Upper Hutt), Jasmax; Porirua College redevelopment, Opus Architecture; Victoria University Wellington's Hugh Mackenzie Building Lecture Theatre refurbishment, Tennent + Brown Architects Ltd.

Heritage: Chevening Apartment Building (Kelburn), Studio of Pacific Architecture Limited; Embassy Theatre Bar and Cinema (Wellington), Designgroup Stapleton Elliott and Indyk Architects; Xero House (Wellington), Studio of Pacific Architecture.

Interior Architecture: Soltius Offices (Wellington), Herriot + Melhuish: Architecture; Telecom Central (Wellington), Warren and Mahoney Architects and Geyer; The Wellington Fireplace (Kaiwharawhara), John Mills Architects; Xero fitout (Wellington), Studio of Pacific Architecture; Z Energy (Wellington), Jasmax.

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Public Architecture: ASB Sports Centre (Kilbirnie), Tennent + Brown Architects and SKM Architects; Carterton Events Centre, Opus Architecture; Kumutoto toilets (North Queens Wharf), Studio of Pacific Architecture; Wellington Zoo hub and Kamala's Pavilion (Newtown), Assembly Architects.

Housing: Dickinson House (Eastbourne), Studio of Pacific Architecture; Cook Strait House (Island Bay), Tennent + Brown Architects; Lloyd House (Paekakariki), atelierworkshop; Ohariu House, Jasmax; Rangimarie (York Bay), Architecture FCA; Wellington City Council Housing's Regent Park Apartments (Newtown), Designgroup Stapleton Elliott; Robinson House (Plimmerton), Novak + Middleton Architects; Waikanae House, Parsonson Architects.

Small Project Architecture: Northland Studio (Wellington), James Fenton Architect.

Sustainable Architecture: Amesbury School, McKenzie Higham Architecture; BRANZ Redevelopment (Porirua), Warren and Mahoney Architects; Ohariu House, Jasmax; Rangimarie (York Bay), Architecture FCA.

- The Dominion Post

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