2017 Auckland Architecture Awards Winner
Lesieli Tonga Auditorium
This poetic and robust building challenges the industry on the issue of engagement over commerce. The extraordinarily scaled, contemporary Tongan building has established a new building typology for New Zealand: a vast community space so large yet most aptly described as a “living room”. The single volume space, which provides a focus for the Tongan community both in New Zealand and abroad, acts as the main house of a village, hosting events from the highly formal to the casual, all united under a highly textured ceiling which is highly appropriate, but not imitative or directly referential. Richness and economy have been reconciled in a project completed to a very tight budget. The community ownership of the building is already evident, reflecting a long process of engagement, debate and construction. The Pacific concept of exchange has been fully embraced by the architect, who has nurtured the relationship with significant gifts to the community.