Judges said that the strength of this category demonstrates the growing popularity of compact, well designed homes that fit within a budget and that it proved that affordable homes are able to showcase the best in design.
In a country where debate rages about the housing affordability crisis and how to increase the supply of homes for middle to low income families, it is wonderful to see this category taking the lead.
Judge Dr Duncan Joiner, Chief Architect at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, agreed saying that large homes with big price tags aren't always best.
"Smaller homes that are well planned with modest budgets can be fantastic places to live. All well designed homes need to be thoughtful in layout, use solid materials, and ultimately be a joy to live in. It is important that home design is not just about the latest trends but more importantly home design needs to endure." said Duncan.
Judge Dr Andrew Barrie, Professor of Design at the School of Architecture and Planning, said that small to medium homes have more constraints for the designer and therefore can be more interesting.
"This year we are really looking for ideas. We are looking for thoughtfulness of design and creative thinking", says Andrew.
I agree with both judges' sentiments, but then I am delighted in the overall quality of all of this year's entries. Each year the quality only gets better and this is a testament to the growing talent pool of New Zealand designers.
An interesting trend to note in this year's awards is the increase in the number of new ADNZ members entering. In fact, 28% of this year's entries came from new members to the organisation. I am sure these new members are going to bring a whole new dimension to the awards.
We are delighted to announce that joining Dr Andrew Barrie and Dr Duncan Joiner on the judging panel is experienced and celebrated architectural designer Graham Sawell. Graham is an ADNZ life member and one of our most awarded designers, he has also been a member of ADNZ for more than 25 years.
Now for the exciting part, judging is complete and the regional winners will be announced at award ceremonies throughout the country in June and July. On 26 September the Supreme Award winner and National Award winners will be announced at a gala awards dinner in the Bay of Islands.
I look forward to celebrating with each of the winning designers. Good luck to all who entered.