Winning Design Captures the Spirit of Travel

July 19, 2017: Awards, News

A modern, elegant design which reflects the beauty and diversity of the Southland region, as well as its distinctive culture.

Winning Design Captures the Spirit of Travel
"A strong, simple form with local reference distinguished by exemplary planning and excellent way-finding." NZIA Jury Citation

An airport provides the first impression of a region for arriving visitors and when architects Warren and Mahoney were asked to design a new airport for Invercargill they wanted to create a modern, elegant design which reflected the beauty and diversity of the Southland region, as well as its distinctive culture.

The airport design has proved to be a winning design, carrying off the Public Award at the Southern Architecture Awards, organised by the New Zealand Institute of Architects. The awards judges said the airport design was a “strong, simple form with local reference distinguished by exemplary planning and excellent way-finding.”  They said the project had been executed “with admirable attention to detail”.

Project architect Jeremy Dunlop, from Warren and Mahoney’s Queenstown studio, said the design was originally inspired by the historic World War Two hangars located on the site, while the terminal building was designed in a low, curving form suggestive of a large aircraft wing “to capture the romance of flight.”  The terminal is designed on a structurally efficient grid to allow for the smooth processing of passengers, but also to allow for future expansion by adding bays.

On arrival passengers are greeted by a colonnade which provides a civic quality to the building. Several textural precast concrete pods have been designed to reflect the varied typography of Southland, from Stewart Island to Milford Sound, and an internal wall graphically illustrates the native flora and fauna of the region.

Materials were chosen for their connection to the region, and include Southland beech timber, and local aggregates in the polished concrete floor.

Jeremy Dunlop said there were a number of challenges throughout the two year construction project: the chief one being that the airport needed to be fully operational throughout the construction period. The other main drivers were the airport’s brief for a building that would be flexible enough to allow for future expansion, and that would be economical to maintain and reduce its energy consumption.

The airport design also won a Resene Colour Award at the Awards. The judges said, “A device as simple as choosing a lime yellow for the framing of the arrival and departure doors is so helpful to the first time visitor to this new airport building. This is a good example of the intelligent use of colour to aid building performance.”

Invercargill Airport General Manager, Nigel Finnerty, said that the airport company had aimed to create a terminal building that Southland could be proud of. He said the NZIA design award cemented the airport’s win as the Regional Airport of the Year at last year’s New Zealand Airports Conference.

The airport project, he said, had been one of “innovative thinking, engagement and most of all collaboration.

“It has transformed the airport from a dated 1960s building to a modern, functional and practical gateway for Southland.”

View more about the project here