Pushing the envelope

Pushing the envelope add

There is a palpable sense of anticipation and excitement amongst this year’s Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ) judges as they unanimously agree the 2018 entries - substantially higher in number than 2017 - have an impressive energy and quality.

The panel includes Mike Davis of Auckland University, Graeme Boucher of Coast Edge Architectural Design and Mitchell Coll of Coll Architecture. Graeme and Mitchell are both ADNZ award winning designers.

With a notable increase in the standard of the commercial work, Mike Davis says designers have made a commendable commitment to investigating the opportunities.

“There aren’t quite so many big projects, but there are a number of smaller scale commercial projects that are demonstrating a lot more energy in the design - when I say energy I mean the designers are investing a lot more.

“Clients need to be congratulated too as they are recognising the value in their consultants investing more time in the design of things.”

Across the board the judges have observed a shift in the design emphasis within commercial spaces and it’s not just the building envelope that is setting the lift in quality, but also the interiors. “I think that across the commercial grouping, although it’s really noticeable across the whole, there is a strong emphasis on materials.”

Mike attributes this to a growing design awareness in the market and the fact that architects and architectural designers aren’t just designing an envelope, but fleshing out the interiors as they go. He says external influences play their role in inspiring, including shows like Grand Designs and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.

It could be as simple as painting a wall a different colour, but there is a recognition that little things can make a big difference and introduce a dynamic. “When we are talking about the interiors increasing in quality, I think there is a really strong sense of fun.

“I think they are having a good time with their work, and having a good time with their clients and I hope their clients are having a good time with them. That kind of buzz is lasting, that sense of fun is bound in that building for its duration.”

The judges have also observed an innovative use of materials across the board - but not in the way people may traditionally expect; the innovation comes in the way ordinary materials are treated and used, and herein lies the innovation.

“There is a demonstration across the work of people thinking ‘I have to use this but what else can I get it to do in addition?’ This ranges from interior materials and colours through to having fun with form. Certain things are being exposed and really ordinary things are being made to do more work. For example, lighting is not just about providing light, but also about articulating space. There is where the banal stuff becomes interesting.”

ADNZ Regional Award Winners will be announced across July and August of 2018 with ADNZ National Award Winners announced in October 2018.