L. Mason Rattray of Unitec’s architecture department was announced as the winner of the 2016 NZIA Central Innovation Student Design Awards following two days of presentations and judging at TSB Arena in Wellington.
The 12 finalists at the awards were drawn from New Zealand’s three schools of architecture at Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Auckland and Unitec.
Rattray’s competition-winning project presented a new dairy farming model for India that aims to improve the living and working conditions of farm workers and provide a means of upskilling and empowering lower-caste workers.
In the farm’s design, Rattray drew upon his own background growing up on a dairy farm in Otorohanga and his extensive experience living and working in India. He attended Otorohanga College before earning a qualification in construction technology and management in Denmark.
“Ostensibly, this project is about the planning and construction of dairy farms in India,” the awards jury said, “but its real concern is how lives can be rapidly improved through a holistic combination of agriculture and society.” Rattray is currently involved in the design and construction of a pilot dairy farm north of Delhi.
The jury made two Highly Commended Awards. One went to Danielle Koni, from the University of Auckland, for a project that proposed a sequence of interlaced lakescape buildings on Ngati Whakaue land near Lake Rotorua.
Elyjana Roach, from Victoria University of Wellington, was also highly commended for a project that envisions a better future for her hometown of Porirua, which is deep-rooted in community engagement. The jury was impressed with Roach’s “infectious enthusiasm for her city and her skills as a communicator and as a strategic thinker.”
This year’s awards were judged by Christina van Bohemen, President of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, Stephen McDougall, a director of Wellington-based architecture firm Studio Pacific Architecture, and Australian architect Melonie Bijl-Smith.
Evident among finalists at this year’s awards was a level of personal connection to place or subject in each scheme, said jury convenor Christina van Bohemen.
“There were recurring themes, too, including social and environmental sustainability, community engagement and commentary on urban and environmental conditions. The presentation of these propositions was rich, varied and professional and stands the profession in good stead for the future,” van Bohemen said.
Full list of finalists below with high schools attended:
UNITEC Department of Architecture:
- L. Mason Rattray (Otorohanga College) – winner
- Shaun Goddard (Sacred Heart College Auckland)
- Elizabeth Milne (Wellington East Girls College)
- Kyle Ramsay (New Plymouth Boys High School)
Victoria University of Wellington:
- Elyjana Roach ( Tawa College) – highly commended
- Jacob Dench (Christchurch; Burnside High School)
- Sharon Lam (Riccarton High School, Christchurch)
- Nicholas O’Connell (Timaru Boys High School)
University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning:
- Danielle Koni ( Mt Albert Grammar School, Auckland) – highly commended
- Brooke Bardell-Munro ( Mt Albert Grammar School, Auckland)
- Elliott Morgan (Auckland Grammar School)
- Liam Stumbles (Kavanagh College, Dunedin)