Economy may be fragile but architecture has rarely been healthier, say judges.

The refurbished, expanded Auckland Art Gallery, a new airport hotel, a city gym, a seaside events centre and Wynyard Quarter are some of the 42 projects to win local architecture awards.

Gary Lawson, jury convener of the Institute of Architects' Auckland regional awards, said a record 150 entries were submitted, a "bumper crop" in a city where the economy might be fragile but architecture had rarely been healthier.

"Aucklanders are now very aware of the importance of good architecture and should be confident the city will continue to get it," he said, praising Wynyard Quarter and the historic Britomart area as showcasing some of the city's best building design.

The art gallery job in Kitchener St, a joint venture between Archimedia Group and Sydney's FJMT, won in the public architecture and heritage categories for being a beautiful restoration of an important civic landmark handled in a quiet, confident manner.


The Novotel Hotel at Auckland Airport by Warren and Mahoney Architects won in the commercial architecture and interior categories as "a bold statement in pattern and sculptural form".

Quay St's Les Mills Britomart, also by Warren and Mahoney, was praised for its simple palette of materials and colours creating a vibrant interior in the central city gym.

Wynyard Quarter's urban design framework by Architectus was described as an intelligent, considered and detailed approach for an important development on Auckland's waterfront.

Moller Architects' new Viaduct Events Centre in the same area drew the judges' gaze for sitting happily on its commanding harbourside site under roofs evocative of waves and billowing sails.

Britomart's historic Stanbeth and Excelsior refurbishment by Cheshire Architects showed off a raw richness because the job was not overworked, the judges said. Britomart Country Club by the same firm won for being theatrically staged and a tongue-in-cheek take on a traditional venue.

Albany Senior High School by JASMAX was praised as being open plan, light and convivial. The New Lynn Station by Architectus and Brewer Davidson created a spacious, light-filled and safe public environment.

St Thomas Chapel by Salmond Reed Architects was a jewel-like box within the interior of St Matthew-in-the-City which respected the existing church architecture.

A Matapouri beach house by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects won for being an intelligent interpretation of the site which resulted in a beautifully sculptural home.

Pete Bossley Architects' Brown Vujcich house was a pleasing layered series of spaces leading down a hillside while Cook Sargisson and Pirie Architects' house for Awhitu Wines was a carefully layered structure which created a welcome residence and a private retreat.

Anvil, an office project by Patterson Associates, won for providing a crisp and contemporary commercial exterior using folded geometry to give a a dynamic presence in a tough urban area.

Telecom Place, the Victoria St East four-building office campus for the telco by Architectus, not only overcame the challenges of a sloping site but took advantage of that.

The Aotea Square redevelopment by Architectus resulted in a "delicate, light-filled concourse forming a sophisticated welcoming edge to Aotea Square".

Devonport's new Navy Museum by Herriot + Melhuish: Architecture, Opus Architecture and Dave Pearson Architects won for having "a dark atmosphere permeating the small galleries devoted to a rich and deep part of New Zealand's history which is at last well presented."

The judges also praised Motat's aviation display hall by Studio of Pacific Architecture showed off an impressive and innovative use of a timber structure enriched by the warmth of the veneer linings.