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Home and Building, Volume 37 Number 6 (1975)

1975 Tourist Design Awards: in the interests of better tourist facilities

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1975 Tourist Design Awards: in the interests of better tourist facilities

The Tourist Design Awards were introduced by the Ministry of Tourism with a view to encouraging meritorious design of hotels, motels and accommodation houses, the restoration and especially the regeneration of buildings of historic or tourist interest, landscape protection and design as well as fostering the design of souvenir shops, tourist attractions and transport facilities. It was hoped that the awards would not only aim at functional and aesthetically pleasing aspects but also assess the character and atmosphere of the designs.

Awards to an attractive and varied range of well-designed tourist facilities throughout New Zealand were made by the then Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Mrs T.W.M. Tirikatene-Sullivan, at a special function in Parliament Buildings at 6.00 p.m. on Tuesday, 7 October.

Awards were made on the recommendation of a selection panel including three professional architects and a landscape architect who judged the 31 entries received.

Commemorative wall plaques were presented to six design award winners and commendations for meritorious design to a further six projects.

The Chairman of the Selection Panel, Martin Hill, in his speech said:

"The magnificent New Zealand page 45 landscape is one of our major tourist attractions and it is important that everything we do is carefully and sympathetically handled in relation to it. It is not adequate any longer to build an expedient answer to a problem without considering the essential character of what is already there.

It is unfortunate that our brand of universality is likely to make Picton look like Rotorua, or for that matter any other small town. The Tourist expects to see something unique and in keeping with the part of the country he is in, and not something he can find at home.

In this award the standard of designs submitted was high. They came in under the following categories:—

(a)Accommodation; hotels and motels
(b)Restoration of buildings of historic and tourist interest
(c)Protection of the landscape or landscape design in tourist areas
(d)Tourist facilities such as shops, transport centres or other tourist attractions.

This latter category contained a large number of submission.

The panel looked for buildings that worked well and were comfortable to be in, but also ones that had excitement and did that something to enlarge the experience. It was also page 46 important that they fitted in with their surroundings and that their scale was human and inviting rather than monumental.

The restoration of old buildings had come fully into the sphere of tourist interest and the panel was pleased to see the care and attention given by the Historic Places Trust and others in this field. Our forefathers' buildings document many of their aspirations but we continue to destroy them and it is a great shame that the Historic Places Trust is so underfounded, when such large numbers of buildings need their attention.

Next year, it is my pet hopes that perhaps we may see in the awards, hotels harnessing sun and wind for heating purposes. Perhaps using waste heat from showers and baths to preheat the next one and maybe hotels growing some of their own food.

Finally the panel would like to thank the minister for this great encouragement to designers to play a part in the improvement of New Zealand's surroundings."

[By courtesy
November 1975

Design Awards

1: Travelodge Hotel, Queenstown

Architects: Warren Mahoney, Christchurch.

Queenstown Travelodge Hotel ingeniously makes the best possible use of a steep site while keeping within the height restrictions imposed by the borough's town planning scheme. To reflect the steep contours of the site and mould the building to the landscape each floor is set back 5ft 4in from the face of the floor below. The offsets form terraces in front of all bedrooms, make bold shapes of the end elevations and produce a complex double-height space to the lounge overlooking the central garden site between the two wings.

7: A-Line Lodge Motel, queenstown

The A-Line Lodge Motel at Queenstown uses its elevated site to good advantage to obtain from all units uninterrupted views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains. The designer's brief was to blend the structures harmoniously with the local environment and to use local timbers and stone as much as possible.

3: Rotary Garden Court, Wellington

Architects: Wellington City Council Architectural Dept.

In Wellington's Civic Centre, the garden court combines a conservatory and an enclosed courtyard to create a sheltered spot for the public to sit. The conservatory, featuring interesting and exotic plants, has large glass doors so that on suitable days conservatory and courtyard can become one unit. High white walls enclose three sides of the courtyard; native and luxuriant plants grow against them behind semicircular seating. The award citation calls the Garden Court "a fine example of intimate civic design … contrasts pleasantly with the massive scale of the city … architecturally one of the high spots of design in Wellington."

2 Christchurch Town Hall

Architect: Warren & Mahoney, Christ-Church.

The Christchurch Town Hall, says the citation "is an outstanding design achievement which effectively caters for civic, cultural and performing arts needs within the one centre. The advantages of the site have been exploited to the full and arrangement of spaces and use of materials are exceptionally harmonious. The centre has become one of the city's major visitor attractions in its own right."

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4: "Kingston Flyer" Tourist Steam Train

The tourist steam train is a reconstruction of the style of steam railways of the 1920s. Two Ab class coal-fired locomotives and six old passengers cars were overhauled, refurbished and fitted out in the style of the period. "The Kingston Flyer", says the citation, "is a particularly fine example of painstacking and detailed restoration … the atmosphere of the period is effectively recaptured in this deservedly popular tourist attraction". The train runs on the 60 km branch line between Lumsden in Southland and Kingston on Lake Wakatipu, linking with scheduled road services.

5: "Alberton" Auckland Historic Places Trust

"Alberton" is the homestead, built in 1862, of what was originally a 500-acre property at Mt. Albert, Auckland. Bequeathed to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1971, the house, furniture and furnishings were carefully restored and the property was opened to the public late in 1973 as an ornate farmhouse of exceptional size with facilities for entertaining beyond the ordinary. "The New Zealand Historic Places Trust," says the citation, "is to be commended for the care and attention paid to detail in the restoration. This fine effort successfully captures the original period and character of all facets of this splendid farmhouse."

Commended Projects: 8: Wakatipu Trading Post

Architect: Athfield Architects, Wellington.

The Wakatipu Trading Post has seen the Queenstown cinema converted into an arcade tourist shopping complex. "The design is apt for Queenstown and completely in character with other old buildings in the street," says the citation. There are nine shops and two offices on two levels and a restaurant on both levels at the back is sited to attract visitors through the shopping arcade.

12: "Olveston", Dunedin

Commended for the standard of its preservation as a tourist attraction, "Olveston" is a picturesque house in a magnificent setting, operated and maintained by the Theomin Gallery Management Committee as a civic amenity. Bequeathed to Dunedin in 1966 by Miss Dorothy Theomin, it has been restored and refurbished as a brilliant example of a way of gracious living from the past.

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Benmore and Aviemore Power Projects

Commended for the contribution extensive landscaping makes towards blending power stations, dams and lakes into the natural scenery, Benmore and Aviemore hydro-electric projects also embody an attractive range of facilities for public recreation and tourist use. Half a million trees were planted in an area formerly almost bare of trees. Considerable architectural treatment of structures, landscaping of environs and restoration of terrain have achieve compatibility of natural and man-made features.

11: James Cook Hotel

Architects: Kofoed, Arnold, Kenney & Partners, Wellington

The James Cook Hotel is an 11-storey building sited on top of the nine storeys of a Wellington City Council carpark building. The citation says: "Situated in an urban hillside setting of office blocks, the building enhances the city skyline and stands out as an example of sound and individual design. Public rooms and guest rooms are well planned and take advantage of panoramic views over the city and harbour. Interior design work contributes in full to a successful outcome and helps to make this a hotel of distinctive New Zealand character."

10: Whakatane Airport Terminal Building

Architect: Roger Walker, Wellington

The terminal building was intended to put Whakatane on the map while avoiding the repetitive, boxy design characteristic of many airport terminals. It is excitingly different yet has good flow patterns and clean separation of internal functions. The materials used keep the human element dominant so that pasengers and baggage are not treated in a too similar manner.

9: Mount Cook Air Terminal Building

Architect: Trevor Ibbotson, Christchurch

Commending as a tourist facility, the citation says: "The design problems of establishing a functional building in the rugged and impressive setting of Mount Cook National Park has been handled sensitively and successfully."

The building serves both as a terminal and as a rest area, catering for both overseas visitors and New Zealands. The high, sloping, chalet-type roofline, designed to shed the large quantities of snow which fall in the area, is a focal point which relates to the surrounding hillsides.

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