Tonight in our architectural debate here at Not PC I'm delighted to post the fourth of Den's favourites along with his accompanying write-up. As requested by a commenter, this is one of Den's local favourites. He describes it as a "powerful and compelling" New Zealand building sitting "in an exquisite natural setting."
This project is one that I am professionally very jealous of. Not only because I find the architecture extraordinarily powerful and compelling, but because Workshop got given a once-in-a-lifetime site to build on that many architects would stab each other with their 2mm clutch pencils to get a shot at.
The building is sits in an exquisite natural setting, and it resonates with the Murcutt project I posted earlier, in a number of ways. The twisting, translucent blade which is the most striking feature of the architecture, is seen to float over the countryside, forming a visual break between what is 'natural' and what has been 'grafted' on to the site. The relationship between the groundplane and the hovering translucent element is dynamic and uneasy - and exciting.
When seen from closer though, material selection is seen to be robust and simple, drawing from the vernacular of rural structures - seemingly at odds with the delicate, jewel-like impression one gets from further away. Workshop here have used honest, utilitarian materials to achieve a quite extraordinary effect.
The stated design logic behind the overall form was the evoking of a hawk in flight - or in 'wind hover as it glides on the thermal uplifts off the heated land'.
It is an extraordinarily beautiful building, and fully deserving of the acclaim it has received both locally and internationally. Definitely my favourite NZ building of the moment.