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Impossible to separate the two winners

Projects in top student architecture competition combine optimism and protest

A project proposing architectural pilgrimage trail in Fiordland and another protesting the closure of the Architecture Library at the University of Auckland have won the annual national competition for final year architecture students which was held at Victoria University of Wellington.

For the first time, the prestigious Student Design Awards, which are contested by graduating students from New Zealand’s three Schools of Architecture – at the University of Auckland, Unitec and Victoria University – had two winners: Abdallah Alayan and Jeremy Priest, both of the University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning.

Institute of Architects President Tim Melville, the convenor of the awards jury which also comprised Auckland architect Courtney Kitchen and Melbourne architect Amelia  Borg, said it was impossible to separate the winning entries.      

“The two winning projects are very different but equally meritorious,” Melville said. “They are highly accomplished pieces of work that illustrate architecture’s ability to respond to social and political conditions, identify issues and offer solutions.”

Winners' citations

Abdallah Alayan

University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning

Faith in Fiordland

This is a beautiful project – a thesis expressed with clarity and sensitivity, premised on inclusivity and inspired with optimism. Proposing architecture in a National Park – and, what’s more, Fiordland National Park – is a bold move, but Abdallah carries if off with grace and a totally winning sensibility.

The scheme is a series of architectural interventions – an architecture of special moments – designed for an age in which most people have no allegiance to a particular religion but retain the capacity to be awe-struck by nature.

The scheme exhibits a profound understanding of and sympathy for the human condition. The openness of the architecture is a befitting expression of the generosity of the designer.

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In an exercise in architectural protest, Jeremy takes white, black
In an exercise in architectural protest, Jeremy takes as his starting point the closure by the University of Auckland of its School of Architecture Library.

Jeremy Priest

University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning 

Protest Academia  

This a thoroughgoing, fully thought-through and convincingly coherent exploration of a proposition. In an exercise in architectural protest, Jeremy takes as his starting point the closure by the University of Auckland of its School of Architecture Library.

An insertion is shot up and through the School of Engineering, terminating in a cantilevered gesture to the School of Architecture. This insertion and its component spaces express what its author believes to be the present condition of the School of Architecture – an institution subject to the neo-liberal orthodoxies of the corporatised academy.

This is a cold and clear appraisal; the dissent that motivated the project is channelled into articulate dissection and intelligent exposition.

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Highly Commended

Kun Tao

Unitec School of Architecture

Patrick Kelly

Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington School of Architecture

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Top row, from left: Abdallah Alayan, Jeremy Priest, white, black
Top row, from left: Abdallah Alayan, Jeremy Priest, Nicole Teh, Wesley Twiss, Joseph Wellwood, Eva Jenkin, Jacob Bowden, Patrick Kelly Botton row, from left: Maito Akiyama, Ekta Nathu, Ryan Western, Kun Tao

Finalists

Maito Akiyama

University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning

Nicole The

University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning

Jacob Bowden

Unitec School of Architecture

Eva Jenkin

Unitec School of Architecture

Wesley Twiss

Unitec School of Architecture

Ekta Nathu

Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington School of Architecture

Joseph Wellwood

Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington School of Architecture

Ryan Western

Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington School of Architecture

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The Student Design Awards are organised by Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) and supported by Resene. 

Twelve fifth-year architecture students are selected to enter the competition, four from each of the Schools of Architecture at the University of Auckland, Unitec and Victoria University of Wellington.


Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: David St George

15 Dec, 2019

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