Commercial Architecture Award for Christchurch Adventure Park

When leisure developers Select Contracts chose to Port hills forest as the location for the Christchurch Adventure Park, a 900-acre mountain biking Mecca, it was an opportunity for architect Andrew Watson to be part of something special.

The valley, only ten minutes from the city, has a unique feel, he says. He teamed up with builders Concision and Amalgamated Builders Ltd and bid, successfully, to design the village that serves the adventure park.

"It's a pretty special spot, and the buildings responded really well to that environment."

Andrew established AW Architects in Christchurch after studying in Auckland and travelling abroad. He was a cycle courier in London, made models for the film industry in Canada, and did a lot of snowboarding. But being an architect was always his goal.

Since then, his form has continued to grow. "We're focussing on high end residential and commercial," he says, with some great ideas for the future of Christchurch. "In our small way, we just want to add as much design quality to what's happening."

With at least two mixed-use projects underway in the central city, Andrew is putting his stamp on the retail precinct. He is also working on the New Brighton Hot Pools project.

For its work on the Christchurch Adventure Park, AW Architects was the winner of the 2017 Canterbury Architects Award for Commercial Architecture.

Andrew's philosophy of design brings together environmental factors - wind, rain, sun, topography. "We distil those aspects and wrap a design around them. There's a commonality in all the work we do, but we think ultimately every project has to stand on its own environment and react to it."