Hawke's Bay buildings have picked up three prizes at the 2015 New Zealand Architecture Awards including the number one award - the New Zealand Architecture Medal.

The Blyth Performing Arts Centre at Iona College in Havelock North picked up the top prize at the awards which were staged in Auckland last Friday.

The centre, designed by Stevens Lawson Architects of Auckland, also picked up awards in the education category.

Jurors described the building as "an exquisite home for some of the other arts in this beautifully planned and executed building at Iona College".


Sited prominently near the school's entry, the Blyth Performing Arts Centre offers an impressive welcome to the campus.

The designers said the sculpted shape alluded to the adjacent Te Mata Peak as well as suggesting the "sinuous shape of musical instruments."

It houses a 400-seat concert chamber and all the associated spaces and services.

Judges said the technical and architectural issues had been resolved "masterfully" and importantly acoustic performance had been incorporated seamlessly into the building, and natural light admitted to great effect.

"On this project, client and architect reached for the sublime - and they got there," was how a spokesperson for the judging panel put it.

There was also success for an older and much recognised building upon the Havelock North landscape which had been designed by the late Sir Ian Athfield.

Coleraine House, which was designed and built in 1980 at the Te Mata Estate Winery founded and steered by John Buck.

It had previously borne the title of Buck House.

The Mediterranean-influenced building, which has become a hillside landmark in the region, took the award for Enduring Architecture.

Judges said Coleraine House was one of only a few truly iconic sites in New Zealand architecture.

"The building is one of the best works of the late Sir Ian Athfield, and thirty-five years after its construction it retains all of its charms - it is such a famous form that one tends to forget that it has an interior life - for two generations the house has served its owners as a much-loved family home."

The Monica Loves bar in Napier, which adjoins Mr D in Tennyson St, also struck a chord with judges. It took out the Hospitality and Retail category.