Auckland Art Gallery wins New Zealand's Top Architecture Award
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is the 2012 winner of the top
prize in New Zealand architecture - the New Zealand Architecture
The award was presented to the Gallery's architects,
Sydney-based fjmt and Auckland-based Archimedia, at the New Zealand
Architecture Awards dinner at Te Papa, Wellington, on Friday 25
The judges of the New Zealand Institute of Architects' annual
awards programme selected the Auckland Art Gallery from a field of
20 recipients of 2012 New Zealand Awards for Architecture, which
was narrowed to four finalists: the Auckland Art Gallery; Knoll
Ridge Café on Mt Ruapehu, designed by Harris Butt Architecture; a
house at Piha designed by Herbst Architects; and Remarkables
Primary School, Queenstown, designed by Babbage Consultants.
"The Auckland Art Gallery is a most deserving winner of the
Architecture Medal," says the convenor of the awards jury,
Wellington architect Hugh Tennent. "There were high hopes for this
building, and big challenges to overcome. The architects had to
work with an existing heritage building and a sensitive site on the
edge of Albert Park, as well provide all the spaces and amenities
required by a twenty-first century art gallery."
"On all fronts, the architects have risen to the occasion. The
existing building looks stunning, the new building looks even
better, and the two parts work well together. And with its generous
terraces the Art Gallery now makes the most of its connections to
The awards jury praised the architects for both the design of
the Gallery, produced by fjmt director Richard Francis-Jones, and
for their perseverance in steering the building through a "lengthy
and much-scrutinised construction process" which included restoring
and strengthening the 1888 building.
"The architects have held their nerve to realise a civic
building that Auckland needed, and needed to be very good," the
jury said. "A key issue confronted was also the big opportunity
embraced: the Art Gallery's relationship with Albert Park.
"But the building's other relationships - with Kitchener Street
and with the wider city - have been pursued very successfully, as
has the strategy of using the spaces around the building, and views
into the interior, to invite the public into the Art Gallery."
The Awards jury also praised the building's "moments of drama"
such as "the beautifully crafted kauri canopies over the atrium and
forecourt that elevate a visit into an occasion".
Inside the Gallery, the jury said, the architecture, "with its
high quality detailing, easily navigable and highly functional
galleries, and carefully delineated but unlaboured distinction
between new and existing structure, imparts the confidence that
comes from high level competence".
"The Art Gallery's requirements have been met, and so have
Aucklanders' expectations," concluded the jury which, in addition
to Hugh Tennent, comprised New Zealand architects Ivan Mercep,
Ginny Pedlow and Gary Lawson, and Australian architect John
The New Zealand Architecture Awards is the annual official
awards programme of the New Zealand Institute of Architects,
established to determine the best architectural projects submitted
each year. All Award-winners will have been visited by the jury,
which comprises architects who each have a strong record of
designing accomplished buildings.
Award: 2012 New Zealand Architecture
Awarded by: New Zealand Institute of Architects
Recipient: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Architects: fjmt + Archimedia architects in
Design architect: Richard Francis-Jones
Client: Auckland City Council (now Auckland
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