As the first building that most international visitors see on their arrival to New Zealand, the new-build Novotel Auckland Airport had to be much more than just a hotel - it had to encapsulate as much about the country as possible in its physical design and appearance.
It has clearly succeeded because the 4.5-star hotel, designed by Warren and Mahoney Architects has won the 2012 New Zealand Architecture Award for Best Commercial Architecture. With the hotel owned by one of New Zealand's largest Maori entities, Tainui Group Holdings, in partnership with Auckland Airport and Accor, who operate the hotel, the award judges paid tribute to the hotel design saying it gave "a sense of what is physically and culturally unique about New Zealand".
Since opening one year ago, the Novotel has transformed the airport business district. With its location just 50 metres from the international terminal, the hotel provides an immediate sense of arrival, with the V-like steel supports designed to replicate the bow of the Maori waka canoes that first arrived in the area many hundreds of years ago.
The interior design includes many Maori inspired design features, as well as art from local designers, including a remarkable steel spiral staircase. The striking bed-heads feature images of the distinctive toi-toi grasses, while New Zealand's most distinctive tree - the graceful pohutukawa tree - flanks the entrance to the hotel, providing guests with a powerful symbol of the country's rich character and natural beauty.
General Manager of Novotel Auckland Airport, Paul Columbus, says "Our team are absolutely thrilled to win this prestigious architecture award. For travellers, the Novotel is one of the first and last impressions of New Zealand so it was important for the hotel's design to cleverly infuse references to the country's culture and heritage without compromising on style and convenience.
"As one of Accor's leading hotels in sustainability, were are proud that our rooms and public spaces incorporate the latest interior design trends but also anticipate new ones whilst meeting the highest levels of sustainable performance".
Novotel Auckland Airport was one of the twenty projects recognised in the 2012 New Zealand Architecture Awards.
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