The 2016 SUPREME award winner of the ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards went to a marae building in a riverside settlement at the heart of Tuhoe country.

Announced at a gala awards dinner in Auckland - The award went to a Wharemate for Tanatana marae at Waimana - designed by Aladina Harunani of apa Architects and Project Managers.

It was the design’s attention to the deep emotions summoned in simultaneous celebrations of life and death, that raised the entry above the 149 others competing for one of the most coveted architectural award titles in the country.

Tanatana marae is home to Ngāti Rere, a hapū of Ngāi Tuhoe. It is one of 12 marae along a 20km stretch of road known as the doorway from the North into Te Uruwera ranges.

Tuhoe tradition is unique in that the deceased are not mourned in the wharenui meeting house, instead in a wharemate.

Harunani was commissioned to design a wharemate for whānau to mourn over a three to four day period. The contemporary design would sit alongside a traditional wharenui.

Marae committee representative Martin Rakuraku said the temporary shelters used in the past were no longer suitable and a permanent building was required.

“Traditionally the oratory takes place outside, whether it’s rain, hail or sunshine. But we do occasionally get bad weather here and it’s important for people to be warm and comfortable,” Rakuraku said.

“We decided we wanted this new building to house the mourning family and to be a symbol of the future.”

ADNZ judge and Chief Architect at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Dr Duncan Joiner, said the symbolism within the building’s basic structure was particularly meaningful.

“You can see the big shallow arches which end like fingers stretching out and grasping the land, as well as the pou reaching up to the sky. It’s simple but enables quite complex emotions to take place. Both practically and metaphorically the design is now an integral part of the marae process. It’s not something that’s hidden away – it’s there, and the idea is boldly but very sensitively presented,” Joiner said.

The wharemate design is pragmatic, accessible to elderly kaumatua and people with disabilities. There is mattress storage for sleeping arrangements and a physical connection with the wharenui. The interior comprises two main spaces – a front room where the body is placed and a sleeping space behind, where family members stay overnight. As well as providing openness and closure between the two spaces, the central patterned tukutuku panel slides vertically to reveal an LCD screen, enhancing traditional protocols with modern technology for multi-media retelling of the deceased’s life story.

ADNZ CEO Astrid Andersen said designing for very specific and complex cultural requirements demands a considerable amount of skill and sensitivity from a designer.

“It is inspiring to see a striking contemporary design, which is beautiful in its simplicity, fulfil the requirements of a complex brief. Congratulations to Aladina Harunani, what an accolade – to win a supreme award in his first year of ADNZ membership. And huge congratulations to the eight other national winners” said Andersen.

The eight inspirational and unique designs that were also awarded 2016 National ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards are:

• Tane Cox of Red Architecture for A-cute House - Residential Interiors Architectural Design Award (MOUNT MANGANUI, BAY OF PLENTY)

• Tane Cox of Red Architecture for Crows-nest - Residential Compact New Home up to 150m2 Architectural Design Award sponsored by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (RAGLAN, WAIKATO)

• Nic Curragh of Objects Ltd for Springbank Downs House - Residential New Home between 150m2 - 300m2 Architectural Design Award (CUST, CANTERBURY)

• Don Roy and Cymon Allfrey of Cymon Allfrey Architects Limited for Bradnor Road - Residential New Home over 300sqm Architectural Design Award (CHRISTCHURCH, CANTERBURY)

• Craig South of Cymon Allfrey Architects Limited for Gleneagles Terrace - Residential Multi-Unit Dwelling Architectural Design Award (CHRISTCHURCH, CANTERBURY)

• Nic Curragh of Objects Ltd for Freemans Restaurant - Commercial Interior Architectural Design Award sponsored by GIB (LYTTELTON, CANTERBURY)

• Allan McIntosh of Buildology for Lucerne Home - Residential Alterations and Additions Architectural Design Award (REMUERA, AUCKLAND)

• Ben Solomon of Nomolos for Morice and Fowler - Resene Colour in Design Award (BLENHEIM)