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The Ironbank centre, designed by RTA Studio, has been awarded the 2010 Architecture Medal by the New Zealand Institute of Architects. The accolade is presented to one project each year, and is considered the countrys highest architecture award.
The building, located on Aucklands Karangahape Road, was described by the judges as a rich, groundbreaking and thrilling tour de force. The commercial office building was selected from a shortlist of 15 of the countrys top new designs, including the NZI Centre by Jasmax Limited, and the Yellow Treehouse Restaurant by Pacific Environments Architects NZ.
Convenor of the awards jury, Gerald Parsonson, said Ironbanks towers of stacked boxes have a restless, sculptural quality, and the raw, muscular materials harmonise perfectly with the inner city context.
The building provides commercial and retail space, grouped around a landscaped plaza. Jurors praised the sustainability ethos that had driven the project from conception. This included the recycling of 90 percent of existing buildings on the site. The building also includes a computerised car-stacking machine below street level, an innovative space saving design feature.
Judges evaluated entries against criteria including the relationship of a building to its site and context, design quality, building form, structure and spatial qualities. User satisfaction and environmental aspects were also taken into account. The main consideration for the judges in assessing projects is how well a project resolves key design issues and then builds on this solution to contribute to the advancement of architecture.
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