2017 Ted McCoy Award for Education

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2017 Ted McCoy Award for Education winner: Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana by Tennent Brown Architects.

2017 Ted McCoy Award for Education winner: Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana by Tennent Brown Architects.

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The building amidst its natural setting, nestled right next to the shores of Lake Waikaremoana.

The building amidst its natural setting, nestled right next to the shores of Lake Waikaremoana. Image: Andy Spain

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Interior of Te Wharehou.

Interior of Te Wharehou. Image: Andy Spain

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The entranceway perspective of Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana.

The entranceway perspective of Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana. Image: Andy Spain

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Te Wharehou's success "lies in its response to Tūhoe culture and in the way it sits within this impossibly sensitive environment."

Te Wharehou’s success “lies in its response to Tūhoe culture and in the way it sits within this impossibly sensitive environment.” Image: Andy Spain

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The 2017 Ted McCoy Award for Education at the New Zealand Architecture Awards was conferred to Tennent Brown Architects for Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana.

Jury Commentary
Lance Herbst, Louise Wright and Jack McKinney

The building amidst its natural setting, nestled right next to the shores of Lake Waikaremoana. Image:  Andy Spain

Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana is the product of a holistic process in which sensitive design and considered siting are complemented by a thoroughgoing commitment to sustainable principles. The building is an impressive expression of Ngāi Tūhoe’s identification with their land and its history and an excellent medium for the transmission of knowledge about a place and its people to visitors from around the world – NZIA Citation.

For me, so much about the experience of visiting Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana wasn’t even about the building – which I guess is a strange thing to say within the scope of an architectural competition – and the building does have a strong form and yet, on approach, you could barely see it against the backdrop of the bush behind it,” explains Louise Wright.

“The building is almost functionless,” adds Lance Herbst. “It’s really just a space, a hall that could be anything or it could be everything. Even Ngāi Tūhoe are unsure of how they will use it. Programme-wise, it really is undefined, so its success lies in its response to this culture and in the way it sits within this impossibly sensitive environment.”

Te Wharehou’s success “lies in its response to Tūhoe culture and in the way it sits within this impossibly sensitive environment.” Image:  Andy Spain

“And yet, despite this ambiguity around use,” says Wright, “the building somehow seemed that it would be ready for when Tūhoe did decide how best to use it.”

“There is a lot of intention around where everything is placed – including the siting of the building itself – and it really does respond very well to the landscape. Everything in the design has a story and is totally significant to the history of the land and its people,” says Jack McKinney.

See all winners of the 2017 New Zealand Architecture Awards here.


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