News | 24 May 2024
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Council projects win Public Architecture awards at regional event

Three Wellington City Council supported facilities were winners in their categories at the region’s Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects awards last night.

Tākina exterior entrance on Cable Street side at night.
Tākina: photo credit Jason Mann

Tākina Wellington Convention & Exhibition Centre (Studio of Pacific Architecture) and Te Nukuao Wellington Zoo Snow Leopard habitat (Architecture Workshop) both won awards for Public Architecture at the event held at St James Theatre.

The judging panel said the design for Tākina manages a complex range of responses. Alongside commercial aspirations, the centre needed to operate at a range of scales, be identifiable as a building of national significance, while also fitting in with its surroundings.

Adding that the curvaceous form responds to the site's geometry and is informed by its maritime setting, Māori mythology, and the winds that give rise to the building’s name. 

The panel cited Te Nukuao Wellington Zoo Snow Leopard habitat as having successfully juggled the spoken brief and silent needs of all involved in this project. 

The project speaks to the animals’ native landscape, while anchoring the visitor experience in Te Whanganui-a-Tara and the country’s oldest zoo.

The enclosure’s hard landscape is sustainably built, reusing the old sun-bear enclosure materials as fill, minimising waste removal in line with the zoo’s sustainability goals.

The paramount safety of the zookeepers is also integrated into the design. 

People looking at snow leopards in enclosure at Te Nukuao Wellington Zoo.
Te Nukuao Wellington Zoo snow leopard habitat: Photo credit Grant Davis

An Enduring Architecture award went to City Gallery Wellington | Te Whare Toi (1992-1993) by Gardyne Architecture (now architecture+) with Wellington City Council.

This highly successful adaptive re-use of an anchor civic building is the result of an architectural relationship spanning 30 years. The original project received a National Award in 1994.

The editing strategy of the original 1930s classical architecture treats all new work as a distinct layer inserted into the original building fabric, creating a clear hierarchy of old and new, as well as rich spatial experiences. The contemporary layer is deliberately reserved and serene, spotlighting the art. Elegant proportions of the original library rooms are respectfully retained, as is the main stair. 

Later projects, like the Adam Auditorium, Hancock, Dean and Hirschfeld Galleries in 2009, and the reconfiguration of the main entrance in 2017, continue this successful architectural process. They are a tribute to the commitment of Stuart Gardyne, which is to be celebrated as much as the building and its enduring presence at Te Ngākau Civic Square.

The panel of judges is made up of jury convenor architect Mary Daish, and Natasha Markham of MAUD, Stephanie Gardner of HMOA, and Beth Cameron of Makers of Architecture. 

Tākina is also hosting the New Zealand Commercial Project Awards this evening, and is up for an award in the Built Tourism and Leisure Project category for LT McGuinness, alongside the Te Nukuao Wellington Zoo Snow Leopard habitat (Naylor Love Wellington), and another Council project, the Newtown Community & Cultural Centre (WSP).

Post-script: Both Tākina and Te Nukuao Wellington Zoo Snow Leopard habitat won gold in their category, with Newtown Community & Cultural Centre winning a silver award.