The jury convenor of the Te Kahui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects southern region awards believes the South is consistently producing some of the best architecture in the country.

Barry Condon, of Wānaka’s Condon Scott Architects, says that’s in no small part due to the “spectacular landscapes” in play.

“I think that, in turn, prompts unique and varied responses from different architects, so I do think the standard down here is quite high.”

The Southern Architecture Awards are being announced in Arrowtown tonight.

In all, there are 25 finalists in the South across six categories — housing, small project architecture, public architecture, commercial architecture and education — which have been judged by their peers.

Housing’s the most hotly-contested category, with 13 properties shortlisted, including seven Whakatipu homes.

Jack’s Point’s Te Toka, built by DCD Ltd — which last year was named supreme house of the year in the Master Builders’ Southern Region House of the Year awards — has earned its architects Rafe Maclean a spot, along with Arrowtown’s Terrace Edge, by Anna-Marie Chin Architects.

That property was named the 2022 Home of the Year in this year’s Home magazine’s Home of the Year awards at the end of March.

Recognised: Seven of the 13 finalists in the ‘housing’ category, including this Millbrook home, are in the Whakatipu. PICTURE: SIMON DEVITT

Also in the mix is ‘Crown Range Retreat’, by Assembly Architects, ‘Lower Shotover House’, by Bureaux, ‘Millbrook Home’, by Hyndman Taylor Architects, Jack’s Point Retreat, by Mason & Wales Architects, and Speargrass House, by Sumich Chaplin Architects.

Queenstowner Stacey Farrell’s ‘Coast House’, on the South Coast, is up for the small project architecture category, while the newly-opened Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital, by Warren & Mahoney Architects, is a finalist in the public architecture category.

Last week, Mountain Scene reported they were also a finalist, for the hospital, in last month’s Interior Awards 2022.

And, two Queenstown Holiday Inns are competing against each other in the commercial architecture category — Holiday Inn Express & Suites by McAuliffe Stevens, a finalist in last year’s World Architecture Festival hotel and leisure category, is up against Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park, by Plus Architecture.

The jury comprised Condon, fellow architects Elisa Lewis, from Wānaka, and Jack McKinney, from Auckland, along with lay juror, Queenstown’s Camille Khouri, of My Word, who contributes to architectural publications.

“It’s a tough gig”: Southern region jury convenor Barry Condon

They covered about 1400 kilometres over five days, visiting entries from Bluff to Dunedin, through Central Otago and Wānaka before compiling the shortlist.

‘‘Each entry presented unique and memorable responses to briefs, sites and budgets, with often inspiring, creative design solutions to the various logistical challenges,’’ Condon says.

‘‘As fellow practitioners, we can fully appreciate the level of commitment and care and effort that has gone into each one of these projects — it’s a very difficult task to try and decide who the award selections go to.

‘‘It’s a tough gig.’’

Winners tonight night can then be considered for a national award — the New Zealand awards are being held in November.

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