Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira honoured at NZIA National Awards 2021

Te Ao Mārama South Atrium for Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira has been honoured with two awards in the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) National Architecture Awards, under the Public Architecture and Heritage categories.

Completed in 2020, Te Ao Mārama reconceptualises the museum as a whole and elevates the cultural dignity of the manuhiri (visitor) experience.

Awarded to the design team consisting of Jasmax with FJMT and designTRIBE, the Public Architecture Award celebrates the ‘arrival of an inclusive and collaborative approach to the storytelling of Tāmaki Herenga Waka’.

Described by the jury as bringing ‘balance to the original European architecture’, Te Ao Mārama embeds mana whenua and Pacific narratives and tikanga in the architecture and artwork, and serves multiple functions – formal and informal welcome, education, and other events and community activities.

The judges said: “Through diverse and responsive stakeholder engagement, and respectful intervention with heritage, this collaborative team has created critical new connections and facilitated improved accessibility to Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum. Rich materiality, local timbers and sculpted forms with diverse narratives connect old with new, reinforcing cultural connections, and strongly grounding the building in its unique place.”

Awarded to Jasmax with FJMT, designTRIBE and Salmond Reed Architects, the Heritage Award recognises the unlocking of ‘bicultural potential in a nationally significant heritage building’. Manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga (respect and care) for manuhiri, taonga (artefacts), and the building were central to the design, and extensive consultation ensured cultural protocols were followed, museum operations were enhanced, and the building’s detailed heritage was respected.

The judges said: “This exemplary project threads a series of bold new architectural elements and integrated artworks through the existing layers of Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum, transforming it into a cohesive entity fit for its multicultural future. A new entry sequence from the south creates an epic civic greeting and orientation space within the South Atrium. New spaces and linkages have been elegantly designed to connect rooms and navigate between existing layers of heritage fabric.”

Te Ao Mārama establishes an international precedent for bicultural approaches to public museum design. Pivotal in the design was the release of the suspended tanoa bowl which is now fully resplendent within the atrium (previously partially covered by the temporary exhibition space).

Congratulations to our client Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, collaborators and wider project team.