Saturday, April 13, 2024

Design leader elected Fellow of royal academy

The University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning’s Professor Andrew Barrie is one of 23 new Ngā Ahurei hou a Te Apārangi Fellows elected to the Academy of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Being made a Fellow is an honour that recognises distinction in research, scholarship or the advancement of knowledge at the highest international standards.

Dr Barrie is Professor of Design at the University of Auckland and also practises as Andrew Barrie Lab.

His innovative architectural design and research has played a key role in advancing New Zealand architecture on the world stage, the University said in a statement this week.

His design projects — in the form of buildings, exhibitions and installations — have won more than 60 national and international awards, including some of the most prestigious prizes in New Zealand and global architecture.

His 2016 Cathedral Grammar Junior School is one of the most awarded works of architectural design in New Zealand history.

“In this project he collaborated with Japanese firm Tezuka Architects, travelling to Tokyo to work on the school’s design. He has a long association with Japan, having completed doctoral studies there, before being a project architect in the office of Toyo Ito, one of world’s most influential architects,” the University said.

The Junior School design, made from laminated veneer lumber, includes a classroom block with a roof deck overlooking a park and features a slide leading from the rooftop to a courtyard below.

At the Canterbury Architecture Awards in 2018, at which the building received three awards, the architects were commended for their “immense patience and diligence coupled with serious architectural skill” needed to complete this project. “Any building that allows children to play on its roof is a winner.”

Cathedral Grammar Junior School is one of the most awarded works of architectural design in New Zealand history. Photo: Patrick Reynolds

Dr Barrie is also one of New Zealand’s most experienced curators of architectural exhibitions. In recent years he curated In Context: RTA Studio, for Objectspace, Ponsonby, in which he showcased 20 years of multi award-winning architecture from the Studio, founded by Richard Naish in 1999.

Dr Barrie not only curated it but with the help of 40 students built it; 30 buildings constructed using a paper-modelling technique Dr Barrie developed while studying and working in Japan, and which he uses in his professional and teaching life and has used in several national and international exhibitions.

In recent years he was part of a team at the School of Architecture and Planning’s who created an installation for the 2021 Venice Biennale entitled Learning from Trees, a woven timber lattice structure comprised of hundreds of thin sticks of Abodo Vulcan pine notched and screwed together in two criss-crossing diagonal wall and roof planes.

“Dr Barrie is also among the Pacific region’s leading critics and commentators on contemporary architecture, having published three books on the work of internationally renowned Japanese architects, and over 200 critical reviews, articles, and book chapters on Japanese and New Zealand architecture,” the University said.

It is encouraging that the Royal Society is recognising the value of the creative arts, said Dr Barrie.

“The founders of the Royal Society back in the 17th century included Christopher Wren, the greatest English architect of his generation,” he said.

“Here in New Zealand, the Society has a limited history of designers serving as Fellows, so this election signals a sense that the creative fields can again make a contribution to advancing knowledge. It’s exciting!”

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