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New Zealand Architecture Medal for 2010 – Ironbank Building wins
Thrilling” Ironbank triumphs in 2010 New Zealand Architecture Medal
The groundbreaking Ironbank centre in Auckland’s Karangahape Road has won the 2010 New Zealand Architecture Medal, the country’s highest architecture accolade for a building.
The New Zealand Architecture Medal is presented by the New Zealand Institute of Architects and only one medal is awarded each year.
The highly innovative building, designed by RTA Studio, was described by judges as “A rich, groundbreaking and thrilling tour de force”. It defeated 14 of the country’s other top new designs to take the medal.
Ironbank had already been named a winner in the commercial and sustainable architecture categories of the 2010 New Zealand Architecture Awards.
Architect Gerald Parsonson, convenor of the awards jury, said that Ironbank represented a rare synthesis of originality, visual impact, functionality and ecological sensitivity.
“Its towers of stacked boxes have a restless, sculptural quality and the raw, muscular materials harmonise perfectly with the inner city context,” said Mr Parsonson.
“The various occupancies are each afforded a measure of insularity, yet the open circulation encourages a healthy level of interaction.”
Jurors hailed the strong sustainability ethos that had driven the project from conception. This included the recycling of 90 per cent of existing buildings on the site. Features also include a cleverly conceived, space saving car park with innovative car stacking solutions.
Judges evaluated entries against criteria including the relationship of a building to its site and context, design quality, building form, structure and spatial qualities. User satisfaction and environmental aspects were also taken into account.
The main consideration for the judges in assessing projects is how well a project resolves key design issues and then builds on this solution to “contribute to the advancement of architecture”.
Ironbank Building, Auckland
Design : RTA Studio, Auckland
The building is located in an historic area on the edge of Auckland’s (New Zealand) CBD. The front of the site addresses the high street which is dominated by a rich mixture of Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Most of these buildings have fallen into varying states of disrepair over recent decades.
A strong contrast belies the urban condition of this high street against the parallel service street to the rear of the site. The back street is primarily a service lane and has remained largely undeveloped and unplanned through its evolution. Its streetscape is therefore architecturally unconsidered and haphazard in its appearance.
The building is conceived as a manifestation of a cross contamination of the two contrasting street conditions. The high street being concerned with notions of presentation, display, etiquette and heritage, while the service lane is concerned with servicing, delivery, disorder and utility. The building has taken the opportunity to address a transition between these two street conditions.
The building presents a glass reinforced concrete (GRC) façade as a ‘veil’ to the high street edge screening the site’s interior. This screen has been conceived as an abstraction of the historical facades adjacent.
In a gesture to the finely scaled historical neighbourhood, we have sought to fragment the building form to alleviate the potential mass associated with a medium sized office building. Hence, 5 towers are further fragmented vertically to articulate the composition of stacked office and retail spaces gathered into a socially sustainable working community.
The building is Ecologically Sustainably Designed and has received the first
5 Star As–Built Greenstar rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council.
Ironbank Building, Auckland images / information from RTA Studio, architects