A local design company has received a regional architectural award for transforming an old, narrow building in Blenheim’s core business area into “a lively coffee roastery and café.”
The CPR café project, designed by Blenheim’s Rural Workshop Architecture, won the hospitality category at the New Zealand Institute of Architects regional awards last month.
Directorships Jarrod Midgley and Chris Nott, both architects with 20 years of experience, had their separate firms until collaborating a year ago.
They explained that the prizes were given in honour of the care, craftsmanship, love, and design abilities they put into their projects, as well as their collaboration with customers and builders.
“A lot of our projects take two years from the start of the dialogue to completion, with one year dedicated to design and the other to building. Midgley added, “We are pretty happy of this success because most of the prizes go to much larger and high-profile clinics.”
The cafe’s citation from the awards judges praised “the architects’ basic yet successful interventions, which, despite a restricted budget, made all the correct moves.”
The most difficult aspect of the CPR café project, according to Midgley, was working with an ancient structure from the 1930s that required extensive seismic reinforcement.
“It was also a really gloomy structure, and we needed to bring some light in.”
“It was dark and had a façade. So we designed a central courtyard, which provides the impression of being an outdoor place in the heart of the building, where you can see the rain and receive some sunshine…”
The firm had to work within the confines of the existing building envelope and intended to save elements of the building’s original character, such as the concrete walls.