LENZ 2020 Award Winners Announced

Published: Sunday 29 November 2020

The second edition of the LENZ Awards offered a moment of celebration of excellence in education projects, recognising what has been achieved in the design of innovative and inspirational learning spaces in the past few years.

The Awards offered an important opportunity, particularly in consideration of the trails and tribulations of this most challenging of years.

The LENZ AWARDS 2020 winners were announced simultaneously across the country, in three face-to-face events held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Being able to be in the same room to toast these successes was an added bonus, following the restrictions imposed during the year, which saw so many planned events cancelled. Congratulations to all the entries for stepping up to the call to participate!

The LENZ Awards ceremony can be viewed here

Category 1: New Construction / Entire New Educational Facility


University of Waikato Tauranga Campus, Tauranga  -  JASMAX

Dennis Radermacher, Lightforge Photography


“This impressive foundational university Campus delivers in its vision of grounding its sense of self in place and people.

It demonstrates strong evidence of a comprehensive planning and development process involving multiple stakeholders.

The emphasis on cross cultural understanding was deemed an important aspect of the planning process and is deftly played out in a myriad of ways in the spaces, importantly via numerous art installations throughout.

Green building principles have been applied to an institutional Building program that are both unseen and seen.

This commitment is solid, comprehensive and is a strong example of a stakeholder and design team focussed on positive change.”

Category 1: New Construction / Entire New Educational Facility


Shirley Boys School and Avonside Girls School New Brighton, Christchurch - ASC Architects

Photographer  - Project Story


“The opportunity to reimagine two existing schools onto one site has been creatively explored in the new Shirley Boys and Avonside Girls School.

A new identity that honours and respects the history and unique pre-existing School cultures is evident throughout.

The Campus is set around a series of courtyards that manage scale, inclement weather and importantly creating numerous habitats for connecting community. Social spaces are seamlessly interwoven with dedicated learning spaces, subtly inviting learning to occur anytime anywhere without compromising resources and storage solutions.

Strong strategically located sightlines in and around the spaces enhance the potential for vicarious learning, further enhancing the two schools in one campus focus.

The Jurors were impressed with the intent to create such an extensive array of different learning habitats, with focus on equality, social wellbeing via landscapes and clarity of purpose.”

Category 2 – New Construction/New Individual Facility Over AU$8M  


Hornby High School Redevelopment/ Te Huruhuru Ao o Horomaka Hornby, Christchurch - Stephenson and Turner

- Andy Spain Photography


“Te Huruhuru Ao o Horomaka/ Hornby High School Redevelopment award submission by Stephenson and Turner was coherent and thorough, and reflective of the high-quality architectural education planning and design, involving collaboration amongst a wide variety of stakeholders. Precise expression of a new progressive future focussed educational pedagogy is displayed in this innovative learning environment.

Strong circulation linkages through and around a courtyard supports constant engagement between vertical homebased learning to the broader specialist learning spaces. A diverse range of adaptive teaching spaces are well-planned to meet ever evolving educational trends.

The architecture genuinely responds to the users’ needs by being proudly authentic in structural expression and minimalistic in composition. This project emboldens a future focussed environment which encourages productive project-based learning to flourish.”     

Category 2 – New Construction/New Individual Facility Over AU$


Western Springs College Ngā Puna O Waiōrea Redevelopment Western Springs, Auckland - JASMAX

- Dennis Radermacher, Lightforge Photography


“The Western Springs College Ngā Puna O Waiōrea award submission was clear and comprehensive, and reflective of the high-quality architectural education planning and design execution by Jasmax. The design reinforces strong connections with the existing Campus environment and community setting, and is comprehensive and resolved in its surroundings.

Strong consideration of a new progressive future focussed educational pedagogy is unveiled in this innovative learning environment.

Strong cultural and community connections are emphatically presented. A variety of adaptive teaching spaces are well-considered to meet current needs and changing future educational trends. The impressive material palette, composition and succinct detailing provides an exceptional, future focussed environment which commends high expectations of all its users.” 

Category 3 – New Construction/New Individual Facility Under $8M  


Lepperton School and Community Hall Redevelopment New Plymouth- Robertson Architecture Design

Photographer - Paul McCredie


“Congratulations to Robertson Architecture Design and Lepperton School on a successful project which, through both the planning and design process, and the built outcome, has allowed the school to strengthen the relationship within their local community.

Three interconnected learning hubs enable the collaborative teaching practices that the school has been developing for over a decade. They purposely support a wide range of group sizes and learning activities while maintaining sightlines.

The new school building design provides flexible learning spaces allowing teachers and learners to connect; learn and interact in a variety of ways. The design of each learning hub provides the teachers the adaptability to cater for a variety of diverse student's learning needs.”

Category 5 – Renovation/Modernisation Under $5M  


HG Carver Memorial Library Whanganui Collegiate School Whanganui - RTA Studio

Photographer - Simon Devitt


“The HG Carver Memorial Library project at Whanganui Collegiate School has converted a dining hall built in 1911 into a vital place for learning. With an open floor plan and modular, flexible, multi-use furniture, the design has influenced educators' understanding of the interaction between physical spaces and learning and contributed to improvements in the learning culture at the school.

New additions complement rather than compete with the existing building fabric, and structural upgrades have been carefully conceived and undertaken to ensure minimal visual impact. As well as protecting a building of significant architectural heritage, reuse rather than replacement of the building is the ultimate expression of sustainability.”

 Category 6: Small Projects Under AU$2m


Hukanui ‘Garden to Table’ Enviroclassroom, Hukanui Primary School Hamilton - Paua Architects

Photography -  Mark Mawdsley, PAUA Architects


“This project reveals the worth in pursuing solid student engagement throughout an entire design, research and build phase.

The outcome is a showpiece of the Enviroschools principles, and clearly meets the holistic approach of the school's philosophy whilst ensuring a high level of educational value.

The project is an excellent example of innovation, including waste reduction, water conservation, ventilation, lighting, and heating solutions, all integrated into the educational value of the design.

Uniquely developed to incorporate existing elements with new it offers a rich template for 'learning by doing'. Simple solutions are beautifully crafted, creating an environment conducive to belonging and connecting.

The kitchen spaces and environs accommodate a variety of uses, activities and opportunities to students, and broader community.”

Category 7: Landscaping/Outdoor Learning Area


Rawhiti School Outdoor Learning Areas Development Rawhiti Primary School Christchurch  - Liz Weir and Kamo Marsh Landscape Architects

Dennis Radermacher, Lightforge Photography


“This School has successfully created a green, calming outdoor environment that utilises natural materials and colour that exist in the local area. The outdoor learning space promotes entertainment/performance, play, discovery, and exploration by providing a variety of spaces that incorporate topological features, surfaces/tactile environments, materials, plants, and trees.

The landscape fully supports diverse, unstructured educational opportunities, allow for creativity, problem-solving and risk -taking, and importantly supporting age-appropriate development.

Consideration for the diurnal and seasonal uses including changes over time is evident in material and planting choice. Recycling and upcycling of materials from other schools and sites promotes sustainability, continuity, and a sense of history/place whilst simultaneously enabling cost savings. Undercover, larger group areas encourage extended outdoor learning not just play and the Waharoa installation provides a welcoming gesture to visitors.”

Category 8 – An Innovative Education Initiative


Timber Outdoor Classroom Program, Henderson High School and Onehunga Primary School Auckland  - Andrew Barrie Lab

Photography - Patrick Reynolds


“Andrew Barrie Lab’s Timber Outdoor Classrooms Program has rearranged the teaching program at a university school of architecture to create outdoor learning classrooms for schools that would otherwise be unable to provide these spaces. This is achieved by making use of the design and construction skills of undergraduate and post-graduate university students, and by exploiting a loophole in the Building Code to allow more design freedom and remove delays and costs associated with consent processes.

The involvement of students from primary to post-graduate university level, as well as the mobilisation of members of the wider community, is one of the most distinctive aspects of this project.

The student creators have had powerful and practical learning experiences, and the schools now have a remaining legacy of flexible outdoor teaching and learning spaces to use and enjoy.”

Overall Winner

The judging panel has deemed Western Springs College Ngā Puna O Waiōrea Redevelopment to be the overall winner of the LENZ AWARDS 2020.

Congratulations to Jasmax and Western Springs College Ngā Puna O Waiōrea.


“With a strong planning process including early and ongoing student and cultural engagement and design integration, this project has successfully navigated the move from traditional learning to new generation learning hubs.

There is a strong design resolution within a realistic budget, with excellent use of sustainable materials and spatial arrangements, including use of glass and transparency into staff areas creating a connection between staff and students. The relationship with the adjacent creek has been carefully considered and a site master plan will enable the school to be expanded over time.

The judges were particularly taken by the observation that there has been a marked drop in disruptive and poor student behaviour with far less disciplinary actions than historic levels. The new Western Springs College recognises that all learners deserve beautiful buildings and spaces, and it is no wonder that the staff, students and community love the new campus.”

All entries in the 2020 LE NZ Awards can be viewed here