From New Zealand Architecture Awards: Eight projects, five from New Plymouth, two from Palmerston North and one from Stratford have received recognition in the annual architecture awards run by the Western Branch of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. The awards were announced at a ceremony held at The Chalet, in Palmerston North, on Friday 19 May. The awards jury was led by Palmerston North architect Agneesh Brahmbhatt, who was impressed with the overall quality of work. The jury, which included architects Craig Dalgleish and Dominic Glamuzina, and ‘lay juror’ Jill Wild, a freelance journalist for The Dominion Post and NZ House & Garden, visited each shortlisted project to determine the qualities of each building first-hand. “Serenity and responsiveness were among the qualities we could ascribe to educational projects we visited,” Brahmbhatt said. “This reinforced the fact that the heart and soul of a project are just as important, if not more so, than visual aesthetics.” New Plymouth’s Northern Health School, designed by Stephenson & Turner, received an education award. Brahmbhatt said the building’s position at the edge of a playing field allowed the building its own identity, “while providing a safe haven for anxious pupils”. The redevelopment plan for Massey University’s Palmerston North Campus, a joint venture by CCM Architects, McIndoe Urban and Isthmus, received a planning and urban design award. The project argues for “careful attention to the spaces between buildings”, Brahmbhatt said, and “advocates for development that works with the existing modernist landscape campus setting, and seeks activation through careful consideration at ground level of people and their interactions.” Three residential alteration and addition projects received awards. Brahmbhatt said each was “very contextual and offered apt solutions to each client’s brief”, and that the smaller projects visited were “pocket rockets” that offered high quality design solutions to their clients. One such “pocket rocket” was Villa Cuba, a small brick and glass addition to an existing Victorian villa. Designed by Black Pine Architects, the home addition was achieved with “modesty and simplicity”. Some materials found on site were repurposed for the extension, and this, Brahmbhatt said, allowed the narrative of the older house to continue into the new. The owner of Karina House had a “deep personal connection to site and dwelling”, Brahmbhatt said, which could have led to an “overworking” of the project by the young architect. Instead, the work by Gibbons Architects is “thoughtful, quiet and mature”. “This is an elegant reworking of a 1980s family home.” Brahmbhatt also praised Barbour House, an alteration project by Boon Goldsmith Bhaskar Brebner Team Architects (BGBBTA), and the way the architect had “cleverly held onto some of the existing 1970s coastal house and worked it into the new ensemble, lending it a sense of time and place and a pleasing humility”. BGBBTA also received a small project architecture award for Stratford District Council’s Library Redevelopment, the jury was impressed by the way the library now opens up to the street on one side and the public plaza on the other to create a “living room for the town”. Brahmbhatt said the commercial buildings that received awards this year were well planned, and “expressed a passionate design philosophy finely attuned to the occupants”. The offices for Parininihi ki Waitotara (PkW), designed by Elliot Architects, were praised for having a strong narrative that was developed through the client’s close working relationship with the client. The IVHQ Office, which earned BGBBTA a third award, was described as an “exciting and vibrant sequence of spaces that speaks of the culture of the organisation without being contrived”. The Western Architecture Awards are part of the New Zealand Architecture Awards programme run by the New Zealand Institute of Architects which has been sponsored by Resene since 1991. Through the awards, the NZIA aims to show why good architecture matters in the ongoing development of New Zealand’s cities, towns and communities.