Victoria University of Wellington architectural project receives international award

Kāpiti Watchtower, an architectural proposal created by a group of Victoria University of Wellington students and academics, has received an international award.

Artist render of watchtower project

The proposal, which outlines a visitor’s centre for Kāpiti Island, recently received 2nd Prize in the Transport Concept category of the Global Architecture and Design Awards (GADA). The Awards are run by an international organisation called Re-Thinking The Future, and are part of their mission to support architectural efforts to solve modern challenges like climate change.

The proposal has also been selected to be part of an international exhibition of design research at the University of Sydney, the Annual Design Research Conference. The conference is devoted to design research in built environment fields, and attracts architects and experts from around the world.

Kāpiti Watchtower is designed to act as a lens to observe the changing environment on the Kāpiti coastline. The design is oriented to the cardinal points of the compass to help visitors connect with the surrounding environment, including the boat club, park, and the beach. The building itself contains a café, store, bio-security checkpoint for visitors to Kāpiti Island, information centre, and a small museum. The building is designed to be bold yet inexpensive to construct, with construction costs for the centre estimated at $1.6 million.

Dr Sam Kebbell, Victoria University of Wellington senior lecturer and leader of the project, says their group greatly benefited from working with the Kapiti community while developing the project.

“We all benefited enormously from community input during the design development phase. We have enjoyed a wonderful dialogue with several members of the community, and we’ve worked hard to take all the various points of view into account as we developed the collaborative design.”