2020 Western Architecture Awards Announced


Fifteen projects have received awards in the 2020 Western Architecture Awards, a peer-reviewed programme run by Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA).

The Awards recognise the year’s best architecture in the NZIA’s Western Branch, which covers Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu.

Demonstrating the breadth of work undertaken by architects in the lower North Island, the award-winners included several school buildings, a couple of offices, half a dozen residential projects and a newly-strengthened icon of New Zealand architecture – Whanganui War Memorial.

The Awards jury convenor, Palmerston North architect Matthew Argyle, said the jury, which also included architects Brady Gibbons from New Plymouth and Marianne Riley from Auckland, and Susanna Shadbolt, Director of Aratoi–Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, found that the quality of the shortlisted buildings made judging a pleasure.

“Sustainability was high on the agenda,” Argyle said, “with the clever re-use of existing buildings, and even, in one case, the hull of a boat, to create delightful spaces, while new projects also used smart design decisions to improve the quality of space.”

“Another feature of the entries,” Argyle said, “was the high level of integrity in the use of materials, with stone, raw steel, solid timber joinery and the humble brick being integral elements of many projects.”

Two projects received awards in the Commercial Architecture category. With Dawson & King in New Plymouth, the jury said Matz Architects “have dealt successfully with both a corner site and the need to bookend a commercial precinct to create a unique and engaging building.”

Winner of the commercial building in the NZ Institute of Architects

WSP Architecture received a Commercial award for Te Ao Nui, a Palmerston North ‘Importance Level 4 building’ capable of post-disaster operation.

“The scale of the building is managed through some smart design decisions and enhanced by its mixed material palette,” the jury said. “Sustainability is key to the building design, with energy efficiency and thermal performance well considered throughout.”

In the Interior Architecture category Govett Quilliam in New Plymouth, designed by Boon, is an “innovative and forward-thinking fit-out that challenges the norm for law practices,” the jury said.

Interior of Govett Quilliam

“The layout provides a balance of open plan, breakout and task-specific work zones which enhances physical and visual connections throughout the space, resulting in a more cohesive place of work.”

Interior Awards - Govett Quilliam

The 2020 Western Architecture Awards is a programme of Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects, supported by Resene. All NZIA Branch award-winners go forward for consideration in the New Zealand Architecture Awards, which will be announced in early November.


Commercial Architecture

  • Dawson & King, New Plymouth, by Matz Architects
  • Te Ao Nui, Palmerston North, by WSP Architecture


  • Green School New Zealand, Koru, by Boon
  • Lepperton School and Community Hub by Robertson Architecture Design
  • Whanganui Collegiate School – H G Carver Memorial Library by RTA Studio
  • Whanganui Collegiate School Administration Building by RTA Studio


  • Whanganui War Memorial Centre Strengthening by BSM Group Architects
  • Whanganui Collegiate School – H G Carver Memorial Library by RTA Studio


  • G&C House, New Plymouth by Ardern Peters Architects
  • Two Peaks, New Plymouth, by First Light Studio
  • Westmere House, Whanganui, by Dalgleish Architects

Housing – Multi unit

  • Papaioea Place Social Housing, Palmerston North, by Boon

Interior Architecture

  • Govett Quilliam, New Plymouth, by Boon

Small Project Architecture

  • New Plymouth Boys High School Wharenui by Boon
  • Iona, Whanganui, by Drawingroom Architecture & Design

For the full New Zealand Institute of Architects media release please see here.

Photo Credit 📷 Sandra Henderson, The Virtue and Pip Guthrie

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