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New Zealand Institute of Architects










Auckland's best buildings for 2017 named

26 April 2017

The building boom that has gripped Auckland in recent years is reflected in the 2017 Auckland Architecture Awards. Forty-four projects have received honours this year, 13 more than in 2016.

Awards convenor and Auckland architect Lynda Simmons said the winning works in the peer-reviewed awards programme set a high standard for architecture in Auckland and Northland.

“In an ideal world, we would have liked to have kept giving,” Ms Simmons said. “The work submitted and the buildings we were warmly invited into were of a very high standard. But there are limits, which we had great difficulty in imposing.”

Ms Simmons undertook an ambitious tour of the 64 projects shortlisted for Auckland Architecture Awards with fellow jury members Hamish Monk, Murali Bhaskar and Raukura Turei, who are all architects, and lay juror Desna Jury, Pro Vice-Chancellor at AUT University.

“It was encouraging to see successful public and educational buildings that show how good architecture can be a type of social ‘glue’, strengthening existing communities and playing a significant role in the establishment of new ones,” Ms Simmons said.

One such project is Lesieli Tonga Auditorium in Mangere, a Public Architecture Award winner designed by Bull O’Sullivan Architects. The building, which caters for the festivities, rituals and gatherings of Auckland’s Tongan community, is an example of architecture’s ability to unify, Ms Simmons said.


“This is an extraordinarily scaled, contemporary Tongan building. Although it is a big structure, it works really well as a community’s ‘living room’. On this project, richness and economy have been reconciled in a project completed to a very tight budget.”

All cities should have sublime architectural moments and with Bishop Selwyn Chapel, a pavilion extension to Parnell’s Holy Trinity Cathedral designed by Fearon Hay Architects, Auckland has a new “moment of poetry and grace,” Ms Simmons said.

A fast-growing city has a huge appetite for educational facilities and public amenities, but the need for haste sometimes handicaps the production of long-lasting, quality buildings.

“But this year’s award-winners show how architects are providing sophisticated solutions to often complex problems,” Ms Simmons said. “They are not just trying to meet a client’s brief. They are looking for – and finding – ways to contribute to the wider city in a positive way.”

At ASB Waterfront Theatre, Ms Simmonds said Moller Architects fully leveraged the potential of the prime Wynyard Quarter site to promote arts and culture through architecture.

“By day, the street level walls peel back to engage with passing public and at night the theatre becomes lantern-lit to signify the theatrics within.”

AUT’s Mana Hauora (MH) Building in Manukau, designed by Jasmax, is a centrepiece of the University’s expansion in south Auckland. The awards jury said the “lively red building contains a collection of generous spaces that clearly privilege students and student life”.

In a city that has lost much of its built heritage, Ms Simmons said it was also refreshing to see a number of renovated and repurposed heritage buildings receive awards.

The jury recognised the continuing work at Britomart, a precinct that can claim much credit for kick-starting the revitalisation of downtown Auckland. Peddle Thorp Architects received a Heritage Award for Australis Nathan House, a building with an intriguing “scrafitto” (scratched or etched) exterior and an Interior Architecture Award for its own studio in the nearby Seafarers Building.

Also at Britomart, McKinney+Windeatt Architects received an interior award for Amano, a “visually and spatially busy, yet never overdone” new restaurant for Hip Group.

At Wynyard Quarter, another precinct undergoing great transformation, Warren and Mahoney Architects received a Commercial Architecture Award for the refurbishment of the Mason Bros Building. In the former waterfront warehouse structure “delicate materials and proportions are combined with existing concrete and brickwork to provide a sense of the precious in an industrial context”.

The awards jury was impressed by the building’s “semi-public realm”, an internal laneway open to the public. Warren and Mahoney Architects received an Interior Architecture Award for the design of its own studio, located within the same building.

This year 19 awards for housing were conferred at the Auckland Architecture Awards, reinforcing the reputation the region’s architects have for high quality, bespoke domestic work.

Twelve awards were for new home projects, four for alteration and addition projects, and three for multi-unit housing work.

Some of New Zealand’s most awarded contemporary architecture practices, Fearon Hay Architects (Forest House), Patterson Associates (Paoneone), Strachan Group Architects (339 House) and Herbst Architects (Bethells Bach), were among the winners in the housing category.  

A number of awards were conferred upon architects who had applied alternative home planning models to their designs. Ms Simmons said Guy Tarrant Architects’ Point Chevalier house “departs from New Zealand residential traditions”. The house was built close to two street boundaries to allow for the arrangement of living spaces around a courtyard, a strategy discouraged by New Zealand’s residential planning laws. Sunken gardens, planted with citrus trees and herbs, make the house a community-minded gesture.

On Waiheke Island, Vaughn McQuarrie Architect’s Oneroa House shows how that plenty of house can fit into 100 square metres. “The house is a nod to the history of beachside living, and its calm spaces prove that small can be enough,” Ms Simmons said.

Belinda George Architects’ Pukapuka Road house, consisting of a number of small and separate “barn-like” forms, is “a charming and soulful home and workplace,” the awards jury said.  

A complete list of 2017 Auckland Architecture Award winners is listed below.

The Auckland Architecture Awards are part of the New Zealand Architecture Awards programme run by the New Zealand Institute of Architects which has been sponsored by Resene since 1991. Through the awards, the NZIA aims to show why good architecture matters in the ongoing development of New Zealand’s cities, towns and communities. 

Winning projects are eligible for shortlisting in the New Zealand Architecture Awards, which will be announced in November.

Complete list of winners by category

Commercial Architecture    

Kauri Timber Building, Fanshawe Street, Auckland by Fearon Hay Architects
Mason Bros, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, by Warren & Mahoney
Pollen Street Office, Ponsonby, by RTA Studio
Quad 7, Auckland Airport, by Warren & Mahoney
SGA Workshop and Office, Kingsland, by SGA – Strachan Group Architects


AUT Mana Hauora (MH) Building, Manukau, by Jasmax
St Peter’s College Outhwaite Building, Grafton, by Architectus

Enduring Architecture

151 Queen Street, Auckland CBD, by Peddle Thorp Aitken
Whangarei House by Graeme North


Australis Nathan Building, Britomart, by Peddle Thorp
Waitangi Visitor Centre by Harris Butt Architecture

Hospitality and Retail

Amano, Britomart, by McKinney + Windeatt Architects
Tantalus Estate, Waiheke Island, by Cheshire Architects


339, Mt Eden, by SGA
Bethells Bach by Herbst Architects

Davis House, Orakei, by Mercer & Mercer Architects
Forest House, Oratia, by Fearon Hay Architects
Inland House, Mangawhai, by Gerrad Hall Architects
Lods House, Freemans Bay, by Rosso Design
Matakana House by Glamuzina Architects
Oneroa House, Waiheke Island, by Vaughn McQuarrie
Paoneone, Kerikeri, by Patterson Architects
Point Chevalier House by Guy Tarrant
Point Wells Gables by PAC – Paterson Architecture Collective, Steven Lloyd Architecture and Glamuzina Architects in association
Pukapuka Rd House, Mahurangi, by Belinda George 

Housing – Additions and Alterations

Carrie Street, Sandringham, by Dorrington Atcheson Architects
Johnstone Family Home Additions, Mangere, by Bull O’Sullivan Architects
Langs Retreat, Langs Beach, by Wendy Shacklock Architects
Tree Villa, Ponsonby, by Matter Architects                       

Housing – Multi-Unit

55 Symonds Street by Ashton Mitchell
Kāinga Tuatahi, Orakei, by Stevens Lawson Architects
Verto Apartments, Stonefields, by Warren & Mahoney Architects

Interior Architecture

AUT Mana Hauora (MH) Building, Manukau, by Jasmax
Faraday St Offices, Parnell, by Fearon Hay Architects
Peddle Thorp Offices, Britomart, by Peddle Thorp
Pou Maumahara – WW1 Research Centre, Auckland Museum,  by Pearson and Associates
Warren and Mahoney Auckland Studio, Wynyard Quarter, by Warren & Mahoney Architects

Urban Design                

MacKelvie Precinct, Ponsonby, by RTA Studio

Public Architecture

ASB Theatre, Wynyrad Quarter, by Moller Architects® and BVN in association
Bishop Selwyn Chapel, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, by Fearon Hay Architects
Lesieli Tonga Auditorium, Mangere, by Bull O’Sullivan Architects
Manukau Precinct Project by Architectus and Rewi Thompson in association
Te Oro, Glenn Innes, by Archimedia Group

Small Project Architecture

Waiheke Gateway by Stevens Lawson Architects