An unpretentious, tiny stainless steel shed on a remote island more than 1000km from Auckland has won a place on a prestigious architectural award shortlist.
Michael O'Sullivan of Bull O'Sullivan Architecture designed the new MetService hut on Raoul Island to store hydrogen for operating weather forecasting equipment.
The NZ Institute of Architects released a list of 64 Auckland best new buildings which could go on to win national awards, including 16 new houses, 11 renovations, 10 multi-unit developments, commercial, education and public architecture projects.
"Who would have thought that a building with no windows, that hardly anyone can visit, on one of the world's most remote islands would be shortlisted for an architecture award?" O'Sullivan asked today of the 3.3m x 3.3m shed.
Staff from the Department of Conservation and GNS Science agencies also work in the Kermadecs. O'Sullivan said his shed was installed in September and was designed to be no-maintenance "made of food hygiene standard stainless steel to survive the most brutal sulphuric, volcanic and marine environment".
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The structure was built in Christchurch. O'Sullivan said Bake Tech made the components. The building was then flat packed, trucked to the Royal New Zealand Navy at Devonport and shipped on the HMNZS Otago to the remote Kermadecs.
"We sailed for three days with 3000kg of concrete and 3000kg of stainless steel. We thought it would take seven days to build but it only took three. GeoNet were intending to build a mast so we helped out with that too," O'Sullivan said.
Fuel in the new structure is used in hydrogen-filled weather balloons carrying instruments that measure wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity and pressure.
Because the Kermadecs are part of New Zealand territory, O'Sullivan said his shed qualified as an entry in the awards. John Walsh of the institute said the organisation had never received an entry for a Kermadecs building "but the Auckland area is everything from the Bombay Hills to the north, including the Kermadecs by the looks of it".
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Warehouses, cafes, an airport and a car showroom, a library, chapel, presbytery and cricket club are also on the architectural award shortlist.
"The Covid-19 lockdown has meant that site visits to shortlisted projects by juries around the country have been put on hold. Resumption of the visits or the adoption of alternative means of deciding award-winners are dependent on the national measures adopted to combat the pandemic," the institute said.
That means uncertainty around when the winners will be announced.
Jane Aimer, jury convenor, said making the shortlist was a significant achievement, "especially in what was a bumper year for architecture in the Auckland region".
Projects listed for heritage awards are the Hobsonville Headquarters by MAKE Architects NZ and St Patrick's Presbytery, for its just-completed $3.8m+ seismic upgrade and refurbishment by Warren and Mahoney Architects.
Stevens Lawson Architects is short-listed for the Chapel of St Peter at St Peter's College in Newmarket. PAC Studio is on the list for the Point Wells Cricket Club and Warren and Mahoney Architects for the new Te Manawa Westgate Library in the Massey retail hub.
Aimer is judging the awards with fellow architects Nicholas Dalton, Eva Nash and Stuart Gardyne and lay juror, broadcaster Eric Young.