World Architecture Festival 2013: the Auckland Art Gallery by Australian studio Frances-Jones Morehen Thorp has been awarded World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore.
Frances-Jones Morehen Thorp's Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki in New Zealand was designed in association with New Zealand studio Archimedia as an extension and refurbishment of the existing gallery, creating a new entrance and doubling the amount of flexible exhibition space.
Roofs over the forecourt, atrium and gallery spaces appear to float at different heights, patterned with wood panels on their undersides.
These canopies are designed to mirror the trees at nearby Albert Park, which can be seen through the large transparent walls of the exhibition spaces.
"Our inspiration was the beautiful natural landscape," FJMT design director Richard Francis-Jones said after the announcement. "We saw the building as embedded in place. We wanted to use natural local materials, especially the beautiful kauri trees. But because these are protected, we could only use fallen trees or recycled wood.
‘The building is all about New Zealand, and it has the work of great Maori artists embedded in it."
When the project won the Culture category at the awards yesterday, the WAF judges said: "This is a highly sensitive addition to Auckland Art Gallery which reanimates and reinvigorates the existing building. It responds brilliantly to context and site and gives the gallery a new architectural identity."
The project beat 16 other category winners announced on day one and day two of the festival, including a whirlpool-shaped aquarium in Copenhagen by 3XN and two projects by last year's winners Wilkinson Eyre.
Last year the World Building of the Year award went to Wilkinson Eyre Architects' Gardens by the Bay project in Singapore. Watch our interview with the firm's Paul Baker filmed moments after the announcement.
Dezeen is media partner for the World Architecture Festival, which concludes today at the Marina Bay Sands hotel and conference centre - see all our coverage of WAF 2013 here.
The event is held in conjunction with the biennial Inside Festival. This year's World Interior of the Year was won by a tiled Barcelona apartment by David Kohn Architects. See all our coverage on Inside Festival 2013 »