Queenstown firm wins architecture award

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A Queenstown design firm has won a prestigious national landscape architecture award.

Baxter Design Group’s vision for the Remarkables Primary School grounds took down the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architecture Award of Excellence.

Consultancy director Paddy Baxter says: “Like any school project, the design was a collaborative effort with effectively three clients – the board of trustees, the teachers’ management team and ultimately the pupils.

“It’s a tight site for a school with more than 460 children so we worked with the architects Babbage Consultants on a masterplan that maintained open playing space but still had smaller spaces within it for group play and outside learning.”

Contractor Naylor Love completed the labour on the site, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in Frankton.

The award was presented at a dinner in Auckland on Monday.

Principal Debbie Dickson says: “[Baxter Design] understood the importance of creating spaces that connected to learning and encouraged not only social interaction but interaction with our beautiful environment.”

Judges say the school design stood out because it paid homage to the landscape while adding significantly to the environment of learning.

They praised the clever use of landform resulting in an enclosed, sheltered and interesting space for children to explore.

The site has an amphitheatre design leading down towards the curved school with courts, sheltered areas and native planting.

Baxter has more than 25 years’ experience working for a range of clients from corporate to government departments. The group has received many major awards for New Zealand-wide projects, including one for Queenstown’s Brecon Street steps.