Awards  Our Awards programme showcases and celebrates outstanding New Zealand Architecture. NZIA also offer Student Design Awards to acknowledge design excellence in students of architecture.


Why have awards?

Architecture is a special discipline which demands creativity, specialised technical knowledge, an ability to listen to people's dreams and needs, and the capacity to turn these into reality on either a large or small scale.
The New Zealand Architecture Awards programme celebrates architects who have demonstrated that they have achieved the highest standards for (and with) their clients.

The purpose of the awards at all levels is to:

  • Promote excellence in design and to advance the profession of architecture
  • Raise public awareness of the value of good sustainable design
  • Encourage and promote environmentally-responsible practices and solutions for the enhancement of the built environment
  • Raise the standing of architects within the community and encourage informed public debate on architectural and urban design issues.


New Zealand Architecture Awards

The annual New Zealand Architecture Awards play a vital role in our commitment to raise the profile of Architecture and Architects' services by showcasing and celebrating outstanding architecture.  Since 1990, Resene Paints Limited has been the proud sponsor and Awards partner of the NZIA.  The Awards programme has four levels of achievement: Local Architecture Awards, New Zealand Architecture Awards, Signature Awards, and the New Zealand Architecture Medal.

Level One: Local Architecture Awards

The Local Architecture Awards honour quality new architecture at a community level. They are run by the eight branches of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, entries close in February and winners  are celebrated at eight Local Awards functions throughout the country from May to June.
Each year over 400 entries are received and about 150 of these are shortlisted for the New Zealand Awards.
Winning projects receive a Local Architecture Award. Projects may also receive a Resene Colour Award to recognise the powerful impact of colour in design decisions.

Level Two: New Zealand Architecture Awards

The New Zealand Architecture Awards honour the best architecture produced in New Zealand during the programme year, with entries shortlisted from the Local Architecture Award winners announced in the local branch functions.
The awards provide a snapshot of the best of New Zealand architecture each year and showcase the work of NZIA Practices.

Judging panels represent the different geographical regions, and consider entries  in the following categories:

  • Commercial Architecture
  • Education
  • Heritage
  • Hospitality & Retail
  • Housing
  • Housing - Multi Unit
  • Housing - Alterations & Additions
  • Interior Architecture
  • Planning and Urban Design
  • Public Architecture
  • Small Project Architecture
  • International Architecture
  • Enduring Architecture

Winning projects receive a New Zealand Architecture Award
presented in October at the annual New Zealand Architecture
Awards Dinner.


Level Three: Signature Awards

Three Signature Awards will be given covering projects in the Public Architecture, Commercial Architecture and Housing categories. They are recognised as outstanding projects which should be celebrated above New Zealand Award level.

These three awards will be announced and presented at the annual New Zealand Architecture Awards Dinner held in the first Friday in November.

Level Four: The New Zealand Architecture Medal

This is the third and highest level of achievement in the annual three-tier New Zealand Architecture Awards programme. It recognises exceptional New Zealand architecture and is awarded after rigorous assessment by an expert judging panel including an international judge.
The Medal recognises New Zealand's very best architecture, from within any category and is announced and presented in November at the annual New Zealand Architecture Awards Dinner held in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.

Other New Zealand Architecture Awards

The New Zealand Institute of Architects' Gold Medal

The highest honour bestowed by the New Zealand Institute of Architects.  The Gold Medal is awarded to an individual for an outstanding contribution to the practice of architecture, demonstrated through the production of a consistently high-quality body of work over a period of time.


The New Zealand Architecture Awards are open to NZIA Architect members who work in NZIA Practices.

Judging Criteria


The awards judges assess each project in terms of the following:

  • The relationship of the building to its site, context and presence
  • The degree of consistency and completeness in expressing the relationship between concept, form, and structure
  • Light, colour, texture and spatial qualities
  • Structure, construction, materials and issues of durability and detail
  • Environmental performance
  • User satisfaction, value to the client and acceptability of solutions to the brief
  • Contribution to the advancement of architecture as a discipline and the enhancement of the human spirit.

For enquiries contact:
Daryne Begbie
NZIA Awards Secretariat
Ph: +64 9 280 4482 or 021 126 6968