Architect in the running

Cambridge architect Christopher Beer has been shortlisted for an award in the 2019 Waikato/Bay of Plenty Architecture Awards’ interior category for his work on Te Awamutu’s Spectrum building.

Two years after winning Home Magazine’s Home of the Year, Cambridge architect Christopher Beer has been shortlisted for another major national award.

In May Chris won an award in the 2019 Waikato/Bay of Plenty Architecture Awards’ interior category for his work on Te Awamutu’s Spectrum building.

Now the Market St building has been shortlisted in the same category for the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ national awards.

“It would be a big deal to win,” said Chris, who plans to attend November’s awards ceremony in Queenstown.

“The national awards are open to buildings completed in the past year and 45 buildings have been shortlisted from the 187 local award winners, so just getting this far is great.

“It’s good to get recognition for the work we’ve been doing and it’s a really positive thing for the owners because they’ve put in a lot of time, money and effort into the building.”

Mike O’Connor and Shona Quinlan of Spectrum Group, whose company owns and manages dairy farms throughout the country, were determined to preserve the original character of the building when they bought it to house their new offices two years ago.

Chris was commissioned to save the near derelict building, strengthening its original shell and creating a sleek, modern interior.

“Their commitment to preserving its original character was a big plus for the community and for retaining central Te Awamutu’s historic feeling,” Chris said.

“It has also contributed to the success of the design because it allows the new, modern elements of the design to be played off the old.”

The building was erected around 1940, originally comprising three small, brick-walled shops joined at the rear by lean-to extensions and a concrete-walled warehouse.

“We retained the Market St shop-fronts and all the exterior walls of the building and essentially stripped everything else out and rebuilt it from the ground up inside the walls,” Chris said.

“It’s a nice building to be inside.  The office feels quite domestic and comfortable; you get the feeling it could be a house or an apartment.”

The Spectrum building is one of only five around New Zealand listed in the interior architecture category of this year’s New Zealand Architecture Awards.

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