New Zealand childcare centre scoops global award for building design

04 September 2014

A childcare centre in the small Northland town of Kawakawa has beaten more than 50 buildings across the Asia Pacific region to take top honours in the World Green Building Council's regional leadership awards.

Te Mirumiru, New Zealand's first commercial earth bank building, was last night announced the winner of the Leadership in Sustainable Design and Performance trophy, at a gala dinner in Singapore.

Around 57 buildings were entered in the award. Only eight were shortlisted, including designs from China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.

NZ Green Building Council Chief Executive Alex Cutler said the award was a "stunning achievement" for a New Zealand building.

''These awards are hotly contested. New Zealand's design and construction industry can hold its head high among the world's very best. Te Mirumiru was up against a wide international field, and has shone through. This is testament to the strong vision of its iwi owners, and the technical skill of the architect and project team. I'd like to congratulate everyone involved in the project.''

Owned by the Ngati Hine Health Trust, Te Mirumiru is home to bilingual education for around 100 children from birth to five years old.The building is covered by earth and grass on its roof and unglazed sides, integrating it with the landscape and paying homage to the tribe's customs and history ('Ngati Hine of a hundred hills').

It is one of only three 6 Green Star buildings in New Zealand, and is the only Green Star-rated childcare centre throughout Australasia. Earlier this year the building won an EECA Award for Innovation, and won an award for excellence at the Property Council NZ Rider Levett Bucknall Awards. The building was designed by Phil Smith of CASA Architects.

''Te Mirumiru is an outstanding example of a building that engages and educates children about their culture, customs and the environment.The judges selected Te Mirumiru from a competitive field for its intelligent design that applies green principles from the outset,'' said World Green Building Council Chief Executive Jane Henley.

The World GBC Asia Pacific Awards also include a trophy for Business Leadership in Sustainability. This was won by three companies: City Developments (Singapore); ITC Ltd – Hotels Division (India) and Keppel Land Ltd (Singapore).

Read the World Green Building Council media release.

Image: Simon Devitt