Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Chinese project ‘‘an amazing journey’’

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Prominent Queenstown-based architects Fred van Brandenburg and his son, Damien, have just been recognised on the world stage once more.

At the International Design Awards (IDA), announced in Los Angeles overnight on Tuesday, their Marisfrolg Fashion Campus, for Marisfrolg Fashion Apparel, in Shenzen, China, was awarded a gold in the Commercial Building of the Year category and a silver in Mixed Use Building of the Year.

Separately, the pair have been ranked in the top 100 architects in the world for 2023 by Architecture Digest.

Fred says the IDA recognition is the fifth such award the project — which started in 2007 — has received.

Encompassing 190,400 square metres — eight times the size of Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium — within its almost 5-hectare grounds, the campus comprises a series of interconnected, low-rise structures, designed to support the fashion company’s expansion and growth while evoking the image of a bird in flight.

Design studios are connected to a catwalk and events space, while there’s also a production and admin wing, 50-room boutique hotel, restaurants, flagship stores, and a garden.

It was subject to a ‘soft opening’ in September — the month prior the project won a special category excellence award, presented at the New Zealand International Building Expo and Summit in Auckland.

Taking inspiration from nature, Fred says the building’s design was “an amazing journey”.

“Nature, we have concluded, is a structural engineer.

“The first design was creating these lovely shapes … but then later on, we delved deeper into that to say, ‘OK, how do we build these?’

“A simple thing, like putting a leaf into a photocopier to see why the shape is the way the shape is.

“It’s geometry, and it’s very strictly applied — nature knows all about geometry, and we didn’t.”

While the shell of the building’s complete, Fred says they’ve been asked to design other internal aspects, such as an art gallery and museum inside the building — “all good fun” — which will take another year or two to see to completion.

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