Visionary Architecture Awards Trophies
To celebrate the 50 year history of their annual Visionary Architecture Awards (formerly Unbuilt Architecture Awards/Cavalier Bremworth Awards/Monier Awards), the Auckland Architecture Association wanted a set of half scale replicas of some of the original trophies, to be used as the current prizes.
The original trophies were commissioned from Auckland based artist Marté Szirmay, who made a set of five bronzes. These originals have since passed through the hands of multiple leaders in the Auckland architecture scene and institutions, as important trophies and as beautiful sculptures in their own right. With a bit of sleuthing, patience and a side of luck they were each tracked down and digitally scanned to create an accurate model of the forms.
As one-off pieces, created through an analogue casting process, each sculpture is unique in form and there is not believed to be any other record of them, beyond the finished piece and a handful of published photos from the time. Paramount to the process was creating an accurate model while being completely non-intrusive to the original trophies. Digital scanning allowed this, with the use of photogrammetry to collect all the necessary data with no damage to the form or surface finish + patina that has developed over time.
3D printing was subsequently used to create new, 1:2 scale forms that could be used to make the casting moulds. These were then cast in bronze, and finished with chemical patinas and pigmented layers to best reflect the original finishes. Through years of wear and weathering, the original paint has rubbed off some areas on the original sculptures and natural patinas have formed, but variation in the paint finish does appear to have been present from the start. The final finish was carefully applied to best respect the original intention, based on the evidence available while also recognising the imperfection that was an intended aspect of the original casting and finishing processes.