University staff take home architecture awards

12 June 2018
Tezuka Architects and Andrew Barrie Lab, Cathedral Grammar School, Christchurch, 2015. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds
Image: Patrick Reynolds

An inner city Christchurch school, designed by Andrew Barrie Lab and Tezuka Architects has won three awards at the 2018 Canterbury Architecture Awards.

Described by the judges as “a winner,” the Cathedral Grammar Junior School  took away an Interior Architecture Award, an Education Award, and a Colour Award last night in Christchurch. The accolades are the latest in a string of awards the school has won including a Gold Pin at the Best Design Awards in the Public and Institutional Spaces category, and The Resene Supreme Award at the NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards.

Professor Andrew Barrie, based at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland, is an architectural critic and designer who works as Andrew Barrie Lab. He collaborated on the project with Japanese firm Tezuka Architects, travelling to Tokyo to work on the school’s design.

He has a long association with Japan, having completed doctoral studies there, before being a project architect in the office of Toyo Ito, one of world’s most influential architects.

The innovative Junior School design, made from laminated veneer lumber, includes a classroom block with a roof deck overlooking a park and featuring a slide leading from the rooftop to a courtyard below. 

The five awards judges, led by Christchurch architect Melanda Slemint, commended the architects for the “immense patience and diligence coupled with serious architectural skill” needed to complete this project, saying “Any building that allows children to play on its roof is a winner.” 

“It is critical that a school has the reassuring qualities of a good family home, and the environment of this school is warm, comfortable and nurturing. The interior is honest, strong and, most importantly, provocative.”

They went on to praise the proportion and composition of the school, which they described as impeccably resolved to a high level of accuracy with structure and spaces in full harmony, saying the “Colour, texture and even the smell of the timbers are all inspirational.”

University of Auckland Lecturer Aaron Paterson, through his firm Paterson Architecture Collective (PAC), also received an award at the Canterbury Architecture Awards for Maison Rue Jolie, a house on the waterfront in Akaroa. The judges descrbed the project as “a composition of gables that is full of surprise, delight and colour.”

All winners of the 2018 Canterbury Architecture Awards are eligible for shortlisting in the New Zealand Architecture Awards, which will be decided later in the year and announced in November.

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