Auckland Art Gallery building of the year
Auckland Art Gallery has been awarded World Building of the Year at the prestigious World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore.
The accolade follows respective category wins in ‘Completed Buildings – Culture’ at WAF and ‘Culture’ category win for interior design at the INSIDE Festival – a partner event to the WAF – announced this week.
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki was one of 12 buildings shortlisted in the Completed Buildings – Culture category, and one of seven New Zealand projects to make the 2013 shortlist. The nine-year building redevelopment, completed in 2011, was a joint project between Australian architecture firm Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) and local studio Archimedia, and led by Auckland Art Gallery Director at the time, Chris Saines.
Mayor of Auckland Len Brown says, "The awards recognise the Gallery’s status as a national icon for the arts. It also acknowledges Auckland’s vision for the Gallery; the exceptional work of the architects, designers and Gallery team involved; and the support of the Auckland arts community."
Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says, "Since the expansion and restoration of its building, Auckland Art Gallery has attracted over a million people through its doors, a sure sign of embrace from Aucklanders, as well as from local and international visitors. Our new building is cherished not only by the design community, but by people from all cultures and walks of life.
"We are truly honoured to have such a magnificent home for the most comprehensive collection of New Zealand art in the world, and look forward to attracting even more visitors to enjoy our exceptional and beautifully-crafted building and our dynamic programme."
Design Director FJMT Richard Francis-Jones, says "It is a great honour to receive these significant international awards and a great acknowledgement of the special quality of the Auckland Art Gallery. Especially so as it is the building’s embodiment of the unique qualities of place and culture that has been so widely applauded by the international juries."
Archimedia Principal Lindsay Mackie attended the Festival and says, "One of our early aspirations for the project was to achieve for the Gallery, for Auckland and for New Zealand a degree of international recognition that would elevate both the institution and the city as only modern global media can, without resorting to architectural sensation or departing from the truly local."
Since the redevelopment, the Gallery has received 16 architectural and four design related awards, including the Jørn Utzon Award for International Architecture from the Australian Institute of Architects, New Zealand Architecture Medal from the New Zealand Institute of Architects and Royal Institute of British Architects International Award all in 2012.
The World Architecture Festival judges commented that, "This is a highly sensitive addition to Auckland Art Gallery which reanimates and reinvigorates the existing building. It responds brilliantly to context and site and gives the gallery a new architectural identity."
The World Architecture Festival is the largest festival and live awards competition dedicated to celebrating, and sharing architectural excellence worldwide.
The INSIDE Festival runs alongside the World Architecture Festival and is focused on interior design.
Decade of involvement for Archimedia
When Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki was announced as World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore last Friday night, it was the culmination of almost a decade of involvement for New Zealand architecture practice Archimedia.
In 2004, Archimedia invited Sydney firm FJMT to join with them in the design competition for the Gallery - "We were already working with Richard on the University of Auckland Business School, and it seemed a natural extension of that collaboration, although at the time, I don't think either practice had done an Art Gallery at this scale" says Archimedia's Auckland Director Lindsay Mackie.
As Principal Consultant, Archimedia guided the design teams as the project successively overcame the many challenges it faced. The design concept that evolved was so compelling that no-one involved - Auckland Council, the Art Gallery Foundation, inspirational Gallery Director Chris Saines and his staff, the specialist engineering consultants nor the craftsmen builders at Hawkins Construction – would allow the vision for the new Gallery to be compromised in any way.
"I think the building as realised is almost perfect, with the exception perhaps of a reduction in height to the upper level Day Lit Gallery, imposed by the Environment Court process, which delayed the project for almost three years.
" As a result, we had to work very hard to have the Gallery ready for Rugby World Cup, but that was a great time for the City to open the doors of its new Gallery to the public and international visitors for the first time."
"The Jury told us that the building won in part because it transcended the categories the competition is judged in, taking out both WAF and INSIDE Culture awards, but also as an example of adaptive reuse of the precious heritage buildings and the seamless connection between inside and outside, city and park."
"I think people engage with this building on many levels - not only because of the beauty of its crafted Kauri canopies, but also because they register the harmony of the whole experience - the transparency to Albert Park, the modern forms derived from nature, the Maori cultural dimension, the integration of the heritage structures, the rich materiality and the extraordinary collection of art works within."