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2018 writing awards: overview

In the 2018 Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing entrants were asked: 'What's the best building you've been to?'

For one writer, inspiration came from a marae near Lyttelton; for another, a settler house in Northland. Other writers were moved, variously, by a modernist church in Hawke's Bay, a sports centre in Wellington, Frank Gehry's concert hall in Los Angeles, and, most grandly, the Parthenon in Athens. 

A water tower in Whanganui was an important part in one writer's childhood, and self-built mudbrick hut is, for another writer, as much manifesto as shelter. Another house lives only in the mind of a writer, where it is pieced together from the memories of spaces experienced and elements touched.

Finally, one essay dares to treat into voyeuristic territory: the modern world of Airbnb travel, in which short-term occupancy of a stranger's place is a stimulus to curiosity and speculation. 

About the Awards

The Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing were established by the New Zealand Institute of Architect, with the support of the Warren Trust, in 2015. Their purpose is to encourage longer-form writing about, and an informed interest in, architecture. The annual competition has two sections: open, and secondary school students. 

Each year, the Institute publishes a book including the winning and highly commended essays in the Awards, along with others selected by the book's editor. In 2018, all the essays responded to the question: "What's the best building you've ever been to? Describe it, and say why you like it."

The judges of the 2018 Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing were Nicola Legat, publisher, Massey University Press; Richard McGowan, principal in the Christchurch office of Warren and Mahoney Architects; and John Walsh, Communications Director, New Zealand Institute of Architects. 

The Institute of Architects thanks all those writers who entered the competition, and encourages anyone interested in the craft of writing and the subject of architecture to enter the Awards in the future. 

10 Stories: Writing About Architecture / 4 can be purchased for $15 + postage in the NZIA shop