Small studio's a big winner

Wellington-based architect Ashley Cox, who grew up in Hawke's Bay, is today revelling in the pride of winning a New Zealand Architecture Award for the design of an inspirational studio for a Napier artist.

The studio has been built in Coote Rd for artist Martin Popplewell, and is recognised in the Small Project category, one of eight categories in the annual awards.

A citation says it uses a "simple and singular strategy" which has produced "an ideal space in which to paint and draw".

Defining a boundary to the street, the portal-framed building steps down the sloping contour of an area of a site not previously built on, producing "three spacious platforms, bathed in natural light from south-facing skylights which echo the roof forms of the neighbouring cottage," the citation says.

Views into the garden provide inspiration for the artist, it says.

One project will be chosen from the 20 winners across the categories for the presentation of the NZ Architectural Medal on May 25, and Mr Cox is rapt to be in with a chance at national level.

"[To] push the buttons [of the judges] you must be doing something right," the architect said.

"It's a great endorsement."

He said he had known Mr Popplewell for several years and the building realised the discussions about "this mythical building" the artist desired.

"Myself and my partner have a fairly big interest in the arts, anything creative, and Martin was talking some interesting ideas," he said.

Mr Cox has been involved in other sites in Hawke's Bay, and previous awards have been mainly regional and mainly while working for other people.

Buildings recognised in the awards range in size from the studio to the Auckland Art Gallery and the Novotel Auckland Airport.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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