Best of the Decade – You choose!

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

It’s the start of a new decade (well, a month in already) and I got to thinking – what are the architectural achievements we’ve seen over the last ten years? Were they good for you? Or did they pass by in a miasma of non-events? Te Papa – always a contentious subject – is outside the 10 year cut-off (but even then, would it be nominated as one of the best architectural achievements in NZ?). We’ve had a decade of boom time, in which surely some architectural gems have been created. The NZIA has given literally hundreds of awards all over the country in the last decade – are any of them valid? Has there really been any architectural quality achieved? We’d like you to nominate your favourites inside NZ, from the last ten years. The more the better – and a few descriptive words why you like it would be good too.

The reason I ask is that I’ve just discovered a fantastic new blog, Mammoth, which I was alerted to via the fantastic Bldg Blog – which is my all time favourite. Mammoth has posted a fascinating new post on the best architecture… of the decade. Which means that due to US/European focus, we’re not even on the map. But should we be? Do we have the knife, with which to cut the mustard?

When you go to the Mammoth site, you’ll be intrigued at some of the answers. The net is spread wide – the definition of architecture is loose. We could do the same. Or maybe not? Perhaps, just to be fair, we should restrict this to non-residential buildings, so that sensitive folk in architecturally designed homes don’t get upset by people snooping over their fence. Unless, of course, you’re nominating your own home and don’t mind getting snooped. But I’m keen to see a roll call from around the country, from Invercargill to Cape Reinga, and all stops in between. Over to you….


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Posted under: RANTING | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Best of the Decade – You choose!”

  1. batgirl Says:

    Top ten of the last ten
    – ironbank, ak
    – conservation house, doc
    – site 7
    – waitangi park
    – oriental bay changing rooms
    – peregrine winery
    – performance centre, south Auckland

  2. batgirl Says:

    … and counting …

  3. m-d Says:

    Adam Art Gallery – does what it does very well, in an exceedingly tight space. Generous in effect, which lends itself well to the potentials of contemporary art practice…

    32 Cuba Street, Wgtn (Kate Sylvester) – Does what it does well – intriguing and unashamedly contemporary architectural expression. The folding of architectural form and space presents the fashion store to the street in a highly successful manner.

  4. Guy Says:

    Really? Cuba St one of teh best buildings of the decade in the whole of NZ? I’d have to disagree about that.

    the Adam, on the other hand – yes, definitely. Fantastic. But – just outside the 10 year cutoff?

    It’s a very tricky call. I don’t know if I can speak for Dunedin or Christchurch, or even Auckland. But yes, the Ironbank building in Auckland is fantastic. Superb, from the outside. Not so sure about the inside.

    The opposite is true for my next pick – Sovereign House in Auckland also – great inside, drab outside. Very interesting piece of interior architecture.

    While we’re in Auckland, musing, what about the extension to the Museum by Noel Lane? Success? or dismal failure? A question of outside good, inside god-damn awful?

    Moving south, to Hamiltron. What about the, ahh, the … ummmm, no. You got me there. No building of any worth there at all. Pity really – but not a surprise. Prove me wrong Antanas Procuta!

    Taupo? Na.
    New Plymouth – Puke Ariki? No, can’t say I do.

    Napier? Hastings? Masterton?

    Crikey. Maybe the list is shorter than I thought.

  5. m-d Says:

    But Guy – your failure to manage 10 picks must place 32 Cuba Street up there perilously close…

    I’ll admit that my two submissions are thinking out loud, for the sake of posting something at all – if I could only just come up with some more… I’ll tell you what wouldn’t be on it, and that is Supreme Court and the originally proposed redevelopment of the National Library – that’s pretty sad given that they are two of the most significant national projects in recent NZ architectural history…

    Having not seen the Ironbank, and thus only relying on images, I would have to say that what is presented seems little beyond ‘effect’ – hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised upon actual experience…

  6. c-m Says:

    shame you’ve limited this to non-residential – I’d put a plug in for the Kelly-Clifford House in Oriental Bay if I could … but yes the question is a bit of a conversation stopper – nice to exercise the brain (memory – or lack of it) I guess. Perhaps the issue is that we’re lacking memorable architecture in the country – at least in publicly accessible buildings.

  7. Cartel Says:

    There must be more than just that. What about some of those new office buildings in Aucjkland? They’re pretty fantastic, aren’t they?

  8. m-d Says:

    Perhaps we ought to be guided by the profession – Thus the Wilson School (Opus) would have to figure. For the rest, we just need to wait for a decade of NZ Architecture Medals however…

  9. Guy Says:

    Good idea M-D.
    NZIA Gold medallist for 2008 was Ivan Mercep – architect of such buildings as :
    Auckland University Arts & Commerce Building
    Baywave TECT, Tauranga
    International House, Auckland University
    Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland
    University of Auckland Recreation Centre
    Samoa House, Auckland
    Te Papa Museum, Wellington
    Waikato Museum of Art and History, Hamilton
    Ford Motor Company, Manukau, Auckland
    Birkenhead Inn, Auckland
    Glendowie Catholic Church, Auckland
    Hoani Waititi Marae, Glen Eden, Auckland
    JASmaD Office Building
    Marine Parade Townhouses, Auckland
    Potters Wheel Pub, New Lynn, Auckland
    Rarotongan Bank Building

    There are some great buildings in that line up – Rec Centre is my top pic – but none within the last 10 years.

    The Supreme Awards for 2007 or 2008 went to 2 houses, and :
    WAITANGI PARK – Joint Venture between ATHFIELD ARCHITECTS LTD and WRAIGHT ASSOCIATES LTD

    For 2006, the Supreme Award went to some houses, and:
    AUT Business School – JASMAX Ltd and also :

    Oriental Bay Enhancement – Architecture Workshop Ltd (Joint Venture) with Isthmus Group & Tonkin and Taylor

    For 2005, Supreme Award went to some houses, and :
    Peregrine Winery – Architecture Workshop Ltd

    while 2004 Supreme Award went to some houses, and also:

    Viaduct Point – Apartments, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland – Craig Craig Moller Auckland

    Paraparaumu Public Library, Kapiti Coast – Warren and Mahoney

    South Christchurch Library & Service Centre, Christchurch – Warren and Mahoney

    And the 2003 Supreme Award went to one house, and :
    Jade Stadium West Stand Redevelopment – Athfield / Architectus in association with Ellerbe Becket

    Cumulus, Parnell Auckland – Architects Patterson

    and finally, 2002 Supreme Award went to a house and ;
    St Peter’s College Technology Building, Newmarket, Auckland
    – Architectus Auckland

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