Auckland Art Gallery Wins World Building of the Year 2013 Award

Auckland Art Gallery was awarded World Building of the Year at the prestigious World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore today.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, New Zealand, designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp and Archimedia, has won the ‘World Building of the Year’ award at the prestigious World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards 2013. Photo: ghee/ Flickr

An art gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, has been designated the World Building of the Year, beating off competition from 12 shortlisted entries in the Culture category, before triumphing over the festival’s other category winners.

The new Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki is an extensive public project that includes the restoration and adaption of heritage buildings; a new building extension which more than doubles the public exhibition areas; extensive basement storage and support areas; and the redesign of adjacent areas of Albert Park.

The design creates an openness and transparency to allow views through, into and out of the gallery circulation and display spaces into the green landscape of Albert Park, say s the Telegraph.

Festival director Paul Finch said the gallery redevelopment explored the relationship between new and old.

“It is a civic and community building, it is a display building, it engages with the difference between man-made and natural, it deals with art and science, and it is certainly about culture.”

Catherine Slessor, who chaired the culture jury, said an extremely sensitive addition had been made to an existing building. It was technologically sophisticated in its use of materials.

“It reanimates an existing building without overwhelming it, yet at the same time is a powerful signifier of the new life of the building.”

The nine-year building redevelopment, completed in 2011, was a joint project between Australian architecture firm Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) and local studio Archimedia, and led by Auckland Art Gallery Director at the time, Chris Saines.

FJMT Design Director, Richard Francis-Jones says: “It is a great honour to receive these significant international awards and a great acknowledgement of the special quality of the Auckland Art Gallery.

“Especially so as it is the building’s embodiment of the unique qualities of place and culture that has been so widely applauded by the international juries.”

Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says: “Since the expansion and restoration of its building, Auckland Art Gallery has attracted over a million people through its doors, a sure sign of embrace from Aucklanders, as well as from local and international visitors. Our new building is cherished not only by the design community, but by people from all cultures and walks of life.”

“We are truly honored to have such a magnificent home for the most comprehensive collection of New Zealand art in the world, and look forward to attracting even more visitors to enjoy our exceptional and beautifully-crafted building and our dynamic program.”

Since the redevelopment, the gallery has received 16 architectural and four design-related awards, including the Jorn Utzon Award for International Architecture from the Australian Institute of Architects, New Zealand Architecture Medal from the New Zealand Institute of Architects and Royal Institute of British Architects International Award all in 2012, reports Stuff.

The awards are divided into three main sections: Completed Buildings, Landscape Architecture, and Future Project. The jury included Ken Tadashi Oshima (University of Washington), Ken Yeang (Llewelyn Davies Yeang), Patrick Bellew (Atelier Ten), Jeanne Gang (Studio Gang Architects) and Dietmar Eberle (Baumschlager Eberle).

Other awarded projects at the WAF were the Australian Garden by Taylor Cullity Lethlean + Paul Thompson (Landscape Project of the Year) and the National Maritime Museum in China by Cox Rayner Architects (Future Project of the Year).

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