Glenorchy project takes architecture gongs

2 minutes read
Posted 17 November, 2023
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The fire pit at The Great Glenorchy Alpine Basecamp by RTA Studio and Bureaux. Photos: Patrick Reynolds

If you prefer "delightfully simple sleeping huts rather than a high-end hotel", New Zealand's top architects agree with you.

The Great Glenorchy Alpine Basecamp, a collection of 14 gable-roofed sleeping huts and adjacent communal spaces off Oban Street, won big at the 2023 New Zealand Architecture Awards, held in Wellington on Thursday.

The project, designed by RTA Studio and Bureaux Architecture, took home the Sir Miles Warren Award for Commercial Architecture and an award in the hospitality category.

Judges said while many global tourist destinations are suffering from being overrun by huge visitor numbers, the "slow tourism of The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp suggests a softer touch".

"The experiences here for tourists are not offering hospitality with a high demand in terms of energy and resource use. The low-impact buildings and site services offer delightfully simple sleeping huts rather than a high-end hotel, something which suggests visitors who book an experience here are much more in tune with the spirit of the place.”

The project team of Richard Naish, Mitchell Round, Adam Dwen, Anne Thiermann and Jessica Barter were also praised for delivering appropriate architecture for a property that sits on the doorstep of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"Fourteen simple, gable-roofed sleeping huts and adjacent communal spaces are built from mainly locally sourced materials and have a low embodied and operational energy footprint. Inspired clients, together with the architects, interior architects and builders, have not only created a true fit to place, but offer the best pre- and post- experiences for visitors engaging with this powerful landscape."

The huts exterior and the communal kitchen

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