The 2017 Canterbury Architecture Awards were held at Christchurch’s Great Hall on Wednesday 24 May, with 25 projects, ranging from a glazed office building to a small fish and chip restaurant, being rewarded.
Mike Callaghan, the convenor of this year’s awards jury, said the projects illustrate the way the city is still changing “at an unprecedented pace” and that “the importance of architecture in our city is unquestionable.”
This year’s awards jury visited 40 shortlisted buildings. The jury was pleased to be able to award two new school buildings and two significant heritage reconstruction projects.
COMMERCIAL ARCHITECTURE AWARDS:
PwC Centre by Warren and Mahoney Architects
Replacing several office and apartment buildings along Cashel Street, the new PwC Centre sits proudly gesturing towards the Bridge of Remembrance, taking cues from the past in its reflective glazing and with the faceted north elevation cleverly reducing the scale of the building. The building entry, shared with a bustling café, is articulated by timber detailing, repeated again on the upper level terraces. A slim core to the south of the building allows for large uninterrupted floor plates to offer single or multiple tenancies. The architects have provided a considered and elegant solution to a key inner city site, celebrating the building’s form and function and giving a significant addition to the city’s growing West End neighbourhood.
Christchurch Adventure Park by AW Architects
Four simple building forms wrapped in black metal cladding and lined with pine plywood are placed within a forest of pines to create a Village Green atmosphere. Elements were prefabricated to help ease constraints of the project such as a tight time-frame and budget. Clear definition of architectural elements and a consistency of approach have resulted in a successful outcome for both client and architect.
Medbury School New Teaching Block by Sheppard and Rout Architects
This two-storey, four-classroom teaching block, a key stage in the campus master plan, sets up a new rational architectural language within a sensitively observed context of greatly varied architectural stock. The new block creates flexible learning spaces for the school, based on current modern learning environment principles, with an emphasis on adaptability over time. A strong rhythm of vertical sun-screening fins on the east and west-facing façades give good solar shading, and also provide a more formal quality to reflect the verticality and scale of the site’s surrounding mature trees. A green wall on the north-facing elevation will continue to grow. Large sliding doors open from the shared learning space to a west courtyard which has been created as an outdoor learning space.
Marshland School by Stephenson and Turner NZ and Hayball
The relationship between the end-use client and architect was key to the success of this project. Ideas were thoroughly tested and refined before being implemented. The simple forms and structure of the school are brought to life through the clever use of a restrained and robust palette of materials. The use of an LVL portal structure is efficient but also provides warmth, rhythm and scale appropriate to the children using the spaces. Shelving and window seats, or ‘Dream Boxes’, occupy the spaces between the portals connecting the learning spaces to the external world. Strandboard-clad ‘mountains’ provide a robust and fun organising structure within the open internal learning environment, defining the separate but connected spaces crucial to the pedagogies practised by the school.
ENDURING ARCHITECTURE AWARDS:
18 Butler Street by Maurice Mahoney, Architect
Tucked away on a quiet suburban street in the heart of St Martins, this unique and surprisingly modest home offers joy and intrigues passers-by. Simply planned from a central axis, the original home designed by Maurice Mahoney in 1987 and built for his son (who later was married on the roof), was 9×9 metres and utilised the materiality and detailing the architect’s firm was then using on large commercial office buildings. An addition in 2010 in the same architectural language, and seamless earthquake repair work, have retained the unique nature of the home, sitting rear centre in the site reflecting the purposeful large front lawn and the surrounding trees in Hansens Park.
Templeton Chapel of the Holy Family by George Lucking, Architect
Unexpected in this rural location, this building by George Lucking, with its distinctive form, is a welcome surprise. The story of a fragile community once centred on this church and which now returns on Sundays to congregate here matches the building in its uniqueness. Entry is through a well-tended walled garden, with the entry and more functional spaces housed in a humble flat roofed form. An asymmetrical main roof rises smoothly towards the road and dramatically reaches its apex over the central pulpit before sharply descending again. The raw material palette of exposed concrete block and rough-sawn timber extends from the exterior throughout the space. A pair of glulam beams provide two refined timber arcs over the congregation. Bespoke timber furniture and Mondrian-esque stained glass windows speak of the 1960s. Alternating vertical timber elements and stained glass panels above the concrete block dado introduce warmth and rhythm, encouraging one to look skyward and changing the quality of light in the space. For a community at times without a place of belonging the importance of this place is palpable.
Christchurch Arts Centre Clock Tower & Great Hall by Warren and Mahoney Architects
Following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, the extensive and complex task of restoration of the Christchurch Arts Centre began. The work on site has provided real challenges and complexities. Hands-on design development was required every day as no detail or space is the same. While replicating the existing fabric, the ‘matching’ materials were designed to code and based on their impact on the heritage fabric. The design approach agreed upon was that any new items were to be contemporary in nature, of a minimal palette, and were not to be confused with existing heritage. This important piece of New Zealand’s built history has been cared for and resurrected. These buildings are open for commercial and public use, but are sensitively placed in their heritage context. The result is spectacular and thought-provoking.
The Christchurch Club by Warren and Mahoney Architects
The project comprises reconstruction and restoration of the damaged and partially demolished Category 1 Clubhouse (1863) designed by Benjamin Mountfort, and its integration into a new Club facility. This was a complex project undertaken during a period of extreme uncertainty. The Mountfort restoration is dovetailed into a larger new-build composition in which the principal entertaining spaces are configured for optimal sun and shelter. The architect played a key role in championing the viability of the restoration, and through the masterplanning of the site, accommodating requirements for longevity, flexibility and desirability, while expressing the Club’s identity in anticipation of its next hundred years.
Fush by C Nott Architects
Fush presents Kiwi fish ‘n’ chips in a restaurant context. From the menu to the décor and the fitout to the marketing, the role of the architect is ever-present. The results speak for themselves: Fush is a busy restaurant serving a loyal clientele in a new part of Christchurch city. From the rounded service area clad in galvanised steel, to the open-plan kitchen, space has been designed and maximised to ensure a well-functioning business. Chairs, bathrooms, tables, sauce holders – everything has been designed for the business. This is an expert operator working with a clever architect. The extreme use of the colour blue derived from the architect’s intention to give the diner an underwater ambience. Among a group of chain store shops, Fush stands out as a one-off business, something for the community to call its own.