Sound designs win awards

Okiwa Bay House, Tennent + Brown Architects;
Okiwa Bay House, Tennent + Brown Architects;

The annual architectural awards programme is run by the regional branch of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

Out of the 13 awards presented, Marlborough architecture scooped four:

The Brancott Estate Heritage Centre (commercial), designed by Fearon Hay Architects;

Cloudy Bay Shack (commercial), Paul Rolfe Architects and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects;

Okiwa Bay House (housing), Tennent + Brown Architects;

Wairau Valley House (housing), Parsonson Architects.

Fearon Hay interior designer Rufus Knight said that accommodating the exposed and elevated piece of land on which the Brancott Heritage Trust Centre sits in the design had been a challenge.

"The design that we were trying to get away from was placing a glass box on a hill," he said. "So, there was a lot of excavation and digging and actually stitching or inserting it into the land."

Tennent + Brown Architects design director Hugh Tennent said their company faced a similar challenge when designing Okiwa Bay House at Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds.

An unstable, steep hill, groundwater issues and the property's access road were some of the obstacles to overcome, he said.

The end product was an appropriately inconspicuous building that took advantage of the sun and stunning views across the Queen Charlotte Sound.

Awards jury convenor and Nelson architect Jeremy Smith said the top of the South Island had become one of the hot spots in New Zealand architecture.

Winery architecture had emerged as a significant area of specialisation, he said: “And two of this year's award winners show why. They're both very smart buildings for very savvy companies.”

Regional development, increased awareness of the district's advantages, and a growing appreciation of good design had increased the demand for quality architecture, Mr Smith said.

Other members of the awards jury were architects Meredith Robinson and John Melhuish, and Nelson artist Hillary Johnstone.

Winners of the regional awards are eligible for the annual New Zealand Architecture Awards.

The Marlborough Express