Awards programmes are not just for glory but also important for peer review, so we are committed to entering the annual New Zealand Architecture Awards, run by the NZIA, but also like to put our work to the test globally.
While we’ve had great feedback and success in the past, this year, one building has stood out. The headquarters of Scion, a Crown Research Institute (CRI) dedicated to forestry research based in Rotorua, is our most-awarded building – ever.
Designed in conjunction with Irving Smith Architects, the latest accolade comes from afar: it was a winner in the Institutional Architecture category of the Eurasian Prize, an awards programme founded in Russia. We were disappointed not to be able to travel to Yekaterinburg to attend the ceremony, to meet our contemporaries and see for ourselves the golden-domed Church of the Blood for which the city is famous.
More good news was to come though. In late November we learned that the Scion facility, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata, had won the Higher Education and Research category at the World Architecture Festival 2021 (WAF). And more recently, this week, it won more recognition at WAF, taking out the Best Use of Certified Timber Prize. Again, sadly, a visit to Portugal was off the cards as, in fact, the event moved to an online live-stream format.
Participating in the global community is important in another way. With Te Whare Nui o Tuteata, we are showcasing how architecture can align with the Government’s climate-change goals. To reduce global warming will take a worldwide effort, including from architects and the construction industry. That a building of this size is certified embodied carbon neutral shows it can be done – at scale. The more attention it gets in awards around the world, the more others are likely to take up our lead.