The Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Place upgrade has been recognised for design excellence.
Funded by Waitematā Local Board, the project won the Civic and Arts Property Award at the 2018 Property Council industry awards, beating out major developments around the country, including Manukau Bus Station and Auckland’s Objectspace.
The centre was also a finalist in Heritage and Adaptive Reuses, taken out by the Dunedin Law Courts; and the Supreme Award, won by Waikoukou in Wellington.
Auckland Council's Development Programme Office project leader, Lisa Spasić, said it was an exciting moment for the team that worked on the project.
“A lot of people worked hard to give an iconic building in the city centre new life and see it return to the heart of the local community. Freyberg Place complements it well and just seeing people using the space is a reward in itself.”
The $11 million project was described by Mayor Phil Goff as “superb” when it reopened, and as a “jewel for the city centre”.
Honouring Ellen Melville's legacy
The project preserves the historic Ellen Melville Centre, built in 1962 and named after Eliza Ellen Melville, New Zealand’s first female city councillor. Freyberg Place, named for World War One and Two hero Lord Bernard Freyberg, has been reinstated as open space for respite in the city landscape.
Waitematā Local Board Chair Pippa Coom said the board was proud of the project and of honouring Ellen Melville’s legacy by renaming the hall after her, and each of its five rooms after significant New Zealand women.
The project also features artworks by John Reynolds, Lisa Reihana and Graham Tipene, paid for through the council’s public art budget.
“With more than 200,000 people working and studying downtown and 45,000 living here, we need more world-class public spaces and facilities like this," Mayor Goff said.