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Confirmation that Auckland’s quest to be a world leader in urban design is on track came last night when two local projects took top honours at the national industry awards.
The New Zealand Urban Design Awards is a new biennial programme that acknowledges the importance of high-quality urban environments. For the inaugural awards, entries went back 10 years with competitive entries such as the Christchurch rebuild 100-day plan and the Wellington Waterfront.
However, it was Auckland that scooped top honours in the two available categories with the Jellicoe Precinct at Wynyard Quarter winning Built Projects, and the Auckland City Centre Masterplan 2012-13, the Envisaging Projects category.
Mayor Len Brown acknowledged the work carried out by the City Centre Masterplan team.
“To make Auckland great, we need to have a vibrant city centre that pulls it all together. It is the heart and engine room of the city and, with the vision and creative inspiration evident in the masterplan, I feel confident its future is in safe hands.
“I wholeheartedly echo the jury convenors that urban design is all about city building. It’s about place making, and it’s also about the public realm, all elements that are critical to how people view our city and the experiences they have within it. We are working towards creating the world’s most liveable city and to do that we are lifting the bar with urban design in Auckland.
“We hope these accolades will generate further pride amongst Aucklanders in our public places and show the world that we are a city to watch.”
Details of City Centre Masterplan projects that are in progress and the next stage of developments on Auckland’s waterfront can be seen on the City Centre Masterplan website.
Two other Auckland based projects were highly commended in Built Projects category: Iron Bank, on Auckland’s Karangahape Rd and the Talbot Park Renewal Project in the east Auckland suburb of Glen Innes.
Awards jury convenor, former New South Wales government architect Peter Mould, says the task of judging in a competition with a large number of diverse entries, many of them outstanding, was difficult.
“There were many fine architectural, landscape and planning projects, but the jury was focused on a broader dimension,” he says. “We looked for projects which established or reinforced urban initiatives and executed them with demonstrable design excellence.”
Mr Mould says the Jellicoe Precinct, stage one of the development of Wynyard Quarter, is an exemplary case of agenda-setting urban design whilst the City Centre Masterplan was praised for re-imagining the streets for use by both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Chief Executive of Council organisation Waterfront Auckland John Dalzell says the Jellicoe Precinct award is a huge honour and testament to the high level of excellence by the designers Architectus, Taylor Cullity Lethlean and Wraight + Associates.
“We’re very appreciative that the efforts of our consultants and partners have been recognised and it’s a tribute to their understanding of the special qualities of the waterfront space and the execution of some great ideas.”