James Durcan of Victoria University’s School of Architecture was announced as the winner of the 2015 NZIA Cadimage Group Student Design Awards at an event held at the Heritage hotel in Auckland on 3 December.
The judging followed two days of presentations by 12 final year students from the country’s three Schools of Architecture, which are departments of Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Auckland and Unitec.
In his winning project Durcan, who was brought up in Timaru, combined contemporary digital fabrication techniques with traditional Māori craft methods and design approaches. The proposed structure was conceived in collaboration with Poverty Bay’s Ngai Tāmanuhiri iwi, and is intended for off-grid construction at a coastal site near Gisborne.
Competition judges Pip Cheshire, the president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, Wellington architect Cecile Bonnifait and Brisbane architect Michael Banney said of Durcan’s work: “This project is the result of huge engagement. It reveals a willingness, on all sides, to learn and collaborate to produce a meaningful outcome.”
Two Highly Commended Awards were also given out on the evening. One went to University of Auckland fifth year student Tessa Forde for her proposal for a new parliament sited in downtown Auckland. The scheme, which the judges described as “sophisticated, engaging and compelling”, blended satire and architecture to make some trenchant points about New Zealand’s current political culture.
Unitec student Hannah Broatch also took home a Highly Commended Award for her work that drew on her extensive research and fieldwork in India to design accommodation for migrant construction workers in Ahmedabad.
“The elegant and beautifully illustrated project reveals a palpable awareness of community sensibility and a realistic appreciation of what might be possible,” the judges said.
Alongside the winning project and the two highly commended awards, there were also three finalists from each of the three Schools of Architecture who submitted widely varying schemes.
Full list of finalists below:
University of Auckland:
- Tessa Forde – Highly Commended (Tessa attended Northcote College, Auckland)
- Chirag Jindal (Chirag attended Lynfield College, Auckland)
- Robert Pak (Robert attended Rotorua Boys High School)
- Kate Turner (Kate attended Westlake Girls High School, Auckland)
- Hannah Broatch – Highly Commended (Hannah attended Western Springs College, Auckland)
- John Belford Lelaulu (John attended De La Salle College, Auckland)
- Kiri McKenna (Kiri attended Taikura Rudolf Steiner School, Hastings)
- Don Pengpala (Don attended Pukekohe High School, Auckland)
Victoria University of Wellington:
- James Durcan - Winner (James attended Roncalli College, Timaru)
- Nick Denton (Nicholas attended Wellington College)
- Rachel Murray (Rachel attended Onslow College, Wellington)
- David Walsh (David attended Stratford High School, Taranaki)