A stunning house overlooking Piha – described as "a sensitively designed retreat that pays due respect to the wild beauty of Auckland's west coast" – has won big at the New Zealand Architecture Awards.

The living area reflects how the house takes advantage of its natural environment.
The living area reflects how the house takes advantage of its natural environment.

Herbst Architects last night won the Sir Ian Athfield Award for Housing, one of 17 prizes presented at Wellington's Te Papa Tongarewa by the NZ Institute of Architects.

A continuous clerestory window takes full advantage of natural light. Photo/Patrick Reynolds
A continuous clerestory window takes full advantage of natural light. Photo/Patrick Reynolds

The jury was glowing in its praise of the Kawakawa House design.

As well as respecting the area's "wild beauty", the jury said: "Occupation must be a pleasure, no matter what the season or the weather. The house connects just as well to the pōhutukawa forest in which it sits, as to the beach it overlooks."

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The architects said the property was down a right-of-way but an existing two-storey house in front obscured ocean views from the lower level and the site was over-hung by trees so was sun-challenged.

All the living areas were on the upper level to provide views and bring in more light.

Devonport-based Jeremy Salmond of Salmond Reed Architects won the gold medal which recognised his outstanding career in heritage and conservation, acknowledging work on buildings as historically and architecturally important as Kerikeri's Stone Store and Russell's Pompallier House.

Vinegar Lane - the Ponsonby office/retail/residential scheme by Isthmus Group - won an award for Planning and Urban Design.

The judges said it "showed there is a viable alternative in a city confronting more intense habitation, to low-density suburbia and monolithic multi-unit development".

Ponsonby's Vinegar Lane by Isthmus Group won a 2018 national architecture award. Photo/David St George
Ponsonby's Vinegar Lane by Isthmus Group won a 2018 national architecture award. Photo/David St George

Warren and Mahoney's work on the Waterview Connection was deemed "a qualitative advance in the design execution of New Zealand infrastructure projects", also receiving an award for planning and urban design.

Warren and Mahoney's Waterview Connection work won a 2018 national architecture award.
Warren and Mahoney's Waterview Connection work won a 2018 national architecture award.

Two Christchurch earthquake-replacement buildings won notable awards: St Andrew's College Centennial Chapel by Architectus won a public architecture prize and Cathedral Grammar Junior School by Andrew Barrie Lab and Japan's Tezuka Architects won in the education category.

St Andrew's College Centennial Chapel in Christchurch by Architectus won a national architecture award.
St Andrew's College Centennial Chapel in Christchurch by Architectus won a national architecture award.

Christchurch's new Justice and Emergency Services Precinct by Warren and Mahoney Architects, Opus Architects and Cox Architecture won an interior design award.

An enduring architecture award, acknowledging buildings 25 years of age or more, went to the Freeman's Bay Heke Street house designed in 1988 by Mitchell & Stout Architects, founded by Julie Stout and Dave Mitchell, the latter who died this year.


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Victoria on the River - the Hamilton urban park by Edwards White Architects in association with Aecom - also won a planning and urban design award.

The jury said: "At last, a well-planned and well executed connection has been established between the CBD and the river that runs through the city and was the reason for its foundation."

Edwards White won in the commercial architecture category for Mezz Box, "an elegant addition that fulfils its commercial function, enhances the existing building and makes a commendable contribution to the public realm of the new Victoria on the River park".

Warren and Mahoney won a commercial award for the new $40m 119GNR, the upmarket and eye-catching Giltrap car showrooms, dealership, service and offices at 119 Great North Rd, Ponsonby.

"With a single-minded focus, disciplined treatment of materials, and close attention to detail, this building realises its commercial purpose to covetous effect. The building is to car showrooms what Cartier is to jewellery stores," the jury said.

Architectus won an award in the education category for the University of Auckland Science Centre which features 11 floors of specialist teaching spaces, research labs, offices and communal areas, connected to existing structures and establishing a university gateway on the prominent inner-city site.

"The architects have met the programmatic requirements and contextual obligations of a demanding brief in a sophisticated and coherent building that enhances the university campus and the wider cityscape," the jury said.

Stevens Lawson Architects' Rawene House in Westmere won an award in the housing category for being an "earthy and soulful home. A lovely spatial flow, adept handling of natural light and well-chosen and crafted materials combine to produce a calmly ordered and serene house".

Westmere's Rawene House by Stevens Lawson Architects won in the residential category.
Westmere's Rawene House by Stevens Lawson Architects won in the residential category.

Another winner in the category, Tūrama, RTA Studio's Rotorua house, showed how connections could be made between the environment, whanau and genealogy, the judges said.

Irving Smith Architects won for additions and alterations category to a Golden Bay bach, completed before a cyclone felled a surrounding stand of eucalyptus trees which meant a rethink about how the house fitted into the environment.

• Full award details at www.nzia.co.nz