Prominent design: The Queenstown Holiday Inn Express and Suites has been shortlisted for an international architectural award. PICTURE: MARINA MATHEWS


Queenstown architecture firm McAuliffe Stevens is in the running for one of the most prestigious awards in the world.

Lead architect Preston Stevens says they took a punt entering Queenstown Holiday Inn Express and Suites — having never put their hat in the ring for the World Architecture Festival awards before — figuring to get a nod would be ‘‘a little bit of a long shot’’.

But it’s one of 15 buildings to make the finals in the festival’s hotel leisure category, something Stevens says is like ‘‘being nominated for the Oscars’’ in the global architecture context.

‘‘It’s a pretty big thing.

‘‘There are many competitions you can enter around the world but this one seems to be getting the most traction, the most kudos,’’ Stevens says.

He credits a team of designers and contractors for the prominent Stanley Street building, constructed on the site of the resort’s former maternity home.

The Queenstown Holiday Inn Express and Suites is up against buildings designed and built in Germany, Thailand, China, Uruguay, Japan, Greece, the Netherlands, India and Iran.

Winners will be announced at the festival in Lisbon, Portugal, in December — Stevens is  now working out if he can get there to present to the jury in person.