Oasis – the ecologically responsible site response seeks to regenerate the land with a pond, native wetland planting and exposed basalt forest

Oasis – the ecologically responsible site response seeks to regenerate the land with a pond, native wetland planting and exposed basalt forest

Think Global, Act Local

August 31 2023

Addressing major world concerns isn’t usually the first thing that’s on the ‘to-do’ list when enrolling as an architectural student but, given that communities are now so global, and that our societal and environmental wellbeing is intertwined, the fact is it comes with the territory. That’s why, in 2017, the World Architectural Festival set up WAFX – an awards programme which acknowledges international proposals that use design to tackle the big issues.

Among the 2023 categories (such as Ageing and Health; Carbon, Climate & Energy and even Ethics & Values), RTA Studio is pleased to have been named a winner in the Building Technology section with our global headquarters for Fisher & Paykel which is soon to commence construction.

A multi-level timber-diagrid structure in this embodied carbon zero building combines with future thinking in terms of the masterplan, which weaves the office and workshops onto land that will be regenerated with plants that grew here in pre-European days. In the micro-planning too, the spaces nurture wellbeing with a yoga studio, gym and digital-free rooms provided for employees.

Once finished in 2025, the Fisher & Paykel headquarters will be New Zealand’s largest mass timber building, and it is exciting to be named in the WAFX technology category alongside our fellow winners, which include a cultural centre in New Delhi which uses quartzite stone from the site itself (stone has one third the carbon impact as concrete); an experimental project that explores the potential of new thatching solutions (combining clay and reed for fire protection) – and a sci-fi like concept for a series of skyscrapers in Dubai that ‘absorb’ particles from sandstorms via magnetism. It may seem like pie-in-the-sky stuff but, as the climate emergency heats up, these are the sorts of issues architects need to wrestle with to help find solutions for a better tomorrow.

Categories winners will compete against each other, and a supreme winner will be announced at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore in late November. You can read more about this project here.

PS: The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp also made the shortlist of WAF 2023 while the SCION Institute in Rotorua (a building that just keeps on giving) has been made a finalist in the Timber Design Awards. Two education projects – new classroom blocks at Freemans Bay Primary School and Owairoa Primary School – were also recognised, the former in this year’s Property Industry Awards and the latter shortlisted in the education category of the 2023 New Zealand Architecture Awards.