15 Oct 2012

Maori architecture creates a sense of place: designer

8:42 am on 15 October 2012

Wellington building consultant Hugh Tennant says stories and culture will become a prominent face in architecture as Maori become more influential in the design of new structures.

Ngā Purapura.

Ngā Purapura. Photo: Paul McCredie

Tennant-Brown recently won the inaugural Nga Aho award at the 2012 Best Design Awards, which the Designers Institute organised.

Guided by their client Te Wananga o Raukawa in Otaki and Mason Durie, the firm created a holistic health centre, Ngā Purapura, which includes a folded roof inspired by Maori motifs.

Mr Tennant said the design includes welcoming spaces where more people can feel a sense of belonging.

The more Maori become involved in shaping the architectural environment, he said, the more cultural expression will end up in built structures, and for people to use.

Mr Tennant said it is all about creating a sense of place where the stories can come forward, and the kawa or protocols can be enacted.

He says one of the ideas of Ngā Purapura was to create new 'kawa' around food and exercise, and it was satisfying to be able to create a design for that.

The panel of judges said that the award attracted a "showcase of Aotearoaness", which was worthy not only of New Zealand, but also of profiling on a global stage.

Mr Tennant and Ewan Brown were among eight other Nga Aho award finalists