Sometimes we get so focused on limitations that we forget to engage our imaginations. The great pleasure of the rich variety of homes in this issue, however, is that none of their architects suffered from this when creating them; all of them have broken with convention in inspiring ways. Wellington’s Zavos Corner Apartments by Parsonson Architects (p.134), for example, shows how higher-density buildings can, despite popular belief, be sensitively inserted into character suburbs. Andrea Bell and Andrew Kissell’s city-fringe abode (p.92) proves that, with good design, we can happily create homes in semi-industrial areas, kids and all. Anthony Hoete’s Villameter (p.120) endured a 10-year resource consent process, only to show how comfortably contemporary architecture can sit in a heritage neighbourhood. So many residents of our cities seem to fear change in our built environment; we hope these projects show that when good architects are involved, change won’t diminish a neighbourhood, but enhance it. Our 21st Home of the Year winner, of course, didn’t have to deal with these urban pressures. But this resolute, rustic building in a valley on the Coromandel Peninsula by Herbst Architects (p.76) is the product of a different sort of struggle behind the scenes, in which architects Lance and Nicola Herbst wrestled with their own preconceptions of what the building should be. The Herbsts’ best-known buildings until now have been diffuse (and beautiful) timber baches. They made a conscious decision to break that mould with this year’s winning home, an assertive sculptural form that is a thrilling addition to the local landscape – and just as delightful for its owners. It’s inspiring to see this talented duo – and all the architects and homeowners in this issue – have the courage to step off the expected path, engage their imaginations and take bold creative leaps.
We’re celebrating the 21st anniversary of our Home of the Year award with this issue, which seems like a good time to offer a short refresher on how it all works (you can see a gallery of all our previous winners and finalists on p.160). Our open entry process began in December, when we called for entries and our jury members examined them to choose a shortlist of homes to visit in person. This year’s jury was made up of me, Wellington architect Stuart Gardyne of Architecture +, and Seattlebased architect Tom Kundig, who travelled here in late January to visit the shortlisted homes with us. All six projects published in this issue are finalists in the supreme award. This year we’ve also introduced new sub-categories to ensure we continue to attract a wide range of entries in the competition: best small home, best city home and best multi-unit residential project. Lance and Nicola Herbst, the architects of 2016’s supreme winner, receive a cash prize of $15,000. On behalf of our award sponsors, Altherm Window Systems, I’d like to extend our warm congratulations to them.
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Top left The Home of the Year 2016, designed by Herbst Architects, p.76. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds. Top right The Zavos Corner Apartments by Parsonson Architects, p.134. Photograph by Jeff Brass. Above left Andrea Bell and Andrew Kissell’s Auckland home, p.92. Photograph by Simon Devitt. Above right The Villameter by Anthony Hoete, p.120. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.