O’Neil Architecture has been admired for its sophisticated enduring designs, spatial fluency, and the ability to make ordinary objects and materials desirable. The company is working on new homes throughout the country, as well as a few exciting projects right here in Christchurch.
We recently sat down with Director Darren O’Neil and Senior Designer David Rea to talk about team O’Neil and their exciting upcoming projects. “We have several exceptional homes that we have been working on recently that we’re incredibly excited about. They’re sculptural, balanced, suited to their environments and will look spectacular when finished,” Darren says.
“In-fact, all parties involved have really gone the extra mile and the level of finish and attention to detail is outstanding. Which yet again reiterates the importance of having the right team of experienced professionals involved in your project, it profoundly affects the execution of the build and client satisfaction,” David adds.
Team O’Neil recently attended a celebratory party its clients threw in their underground garage, AKA their ‘Batcave’, to thank all involved to date. “It was incredibly humbling and such a pleasure to hear how they have honestly loved the entire journey and are almost sad for it to end. That’s what it’s all about really, isn’t it!” Darren says.
The stunning Hughes House, designed in crucifix form, pays more than due reverence to its charmed setting on an old orchard in Marshland.
Designed by Matt Barrett of Walker Architecture, it has been nominated for an Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ) Regional Award, in the Residential New Home Over 300 square metres category of the 2018 competition.
The completely secluded site has its own lake and retains established trees. These magical surroundings flow indoors via decks which reach into the landscape. Raised well above its historical wetland setting, the house also features a generous stud height inside, but clever landscaping around the house means it nestles into its environs, rather than overpowering them.
Matt says the great thing about this design was the “ability to focus on the details – the best details are the ones you don’t see”. Environmental sustainability and energy efficiency elements are a feature of the practice and the clients were very receptive and open to ideas.
These magical surroundings flow indoors via decks which reach into the landscape
Matt says “it’s a series of tweaks, rather than construction overhaul,” to obtain increased energy efficiency and eco-credentials. Tweaks include robustly upscaled insulation, thermally broken windows recessed in line with the insulation rather than with the cladding, water storage and the use of natural materials such as cedar and stonework.
Current projects – the rebuild of the Richmond Club, along with the Duncan Building rebuild and façade retention – might not form the shape of the cross as Hughes House does, but they will receive the Walker Architecture eye for detail and efficiency. Amen to that!
Chances are, if you are in the market for building your next home, Stonewood Homes is at the top of your list. Since 1987, this housing company has been one of Canterbury’s, and indeed New Zealand’s, largest group builder, with more than 30 years’ experience and with 6,000 satisfied Kiwi homeowners.
Throughout the build process, the company is with you every step of the way, from design to the finished build and is proud to now be once again locally owned and operated.
Offering a comprehensive range of design and build packages to suit any budget, its homes also come with a one-year full-home warranty and a 10-year Master Build Guarantee to give you that peace of mind.
The firm’s high standards and sheer level of dedication to every build, can be seen in its latest showhome at 4 Azara Way, Awatea Park, Wigram. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom, double garage home comes with a floor area of 198m2 with butler’s pantry, raking ceilings, study and master suite.
The indoor and outdoor flow, extending the outdoor entertainment areas, has also been achieved by carefully planned landscaping. Stonewood’s use of only the finest building materials and techniques culminate in quality homes that are second to none.
To find out more about how you can make your dream home a reality, visit www.stonewood.co.nz, visit the new showhome in Awatea Park or call
Borrmeister Architects’ studios in Ferrymead and the Coromandel are home to a team of six architects working nationwide. “We find people all over New Zealand are looking for a house that is not just a showhome and which represents value for money,” says Wulf Borrmeister who heads the tea
“We love to work with all sorts of people – our clients and the locations inspire us and we never stop learning.”
A project close to home has received an Architecture Award in this year’s NZIA Canterbury Architecture Awards programme. ‘Mount Pleasant House’ came with a demanding brief for a rebuild on a tricky wedge-shaped hillside section, which faces into the prevailing easterly wind.
What emerged from the clever design team in consultation with its clients, is a contemporary family home featuring angled wings that embrace the sun, sea views and a central private garden courtyard. “A connection with the outdoors is paramount and this has happened with this house,” Wulf says.
The eco-friendly design expresses natural cross ventilation, solar gain, natural light to every room, great privacy, protection from the prevailing wind and it blends well with the context of the neighbourhood. Making beautiful buildings and creating happy clients is reward enough for Wulf and the team but, “this is a standout house and to receive the award is great,” he says.
“It’s a tribute to working together – both in-house and with our clients. Plus T & D Builders were amazing to work with; they’ve done a fantastic job.”
Hadley Morgan, Director of T & D Construction has a soft spot for Mount Pleasant House, having won a Silver Award for the home in the Master Builders’ House of the Year 2016 competition New Home $650,000-$1 million category. “The house utilises a lot of different materials and it provided a great opportunity for our team to complete some really nice finishing carpentry work,” Hadley says.
“They did a brilliant job of that. “The 12-month build process was a great experience – working with Wulf and his team and owners Clara and John, who made the project a real pleasure.”
Not Just Kitchens (NJK) was proud to be asked to manufacture and install the custom-made joinery for this beautiful home. After a site meeting, NJK was left to manufacture and install the products in a short time frame, to meet the schedule.
“These types of homes only come together when the trades people involved have the same vision for the house, and work together collectively to complete the project to the standard expected by the all of the parties,” says Not Just Kitchens Director Paul Campbell. “It was great to have their trust, and to show the flare of our team.”
Architect Craig South explores the positive impact quality, well-considered design can have on a family’s future.
After recently catching up with clients who are still living in their home 10 years after it was designed, the importance of well-considered design was abundantly clear. When we were designing the Brown House, they were a young family with two small boys and another on the way.
Ten years on, although their lives have changed, their home still works perfectly for them. They may have redecorated to match their current tastes, but the spaces remain the same; save for the toy store! A small room off the kitchen and dining area designed for the kids’ ‘stuff’ – highchairs, games and toys – has now become the children’s study. Although the use has changed, its proximity to the kitchen makes it ideal for its new use as it is easy to keep an eye on homework whilst cooking dinner!
The value an architect brings is immeasurable; we understand that it is the unique features and quirks that makes a house your home. Not necessarily the cedar wall in the stairwell or the double shower in the ensuite, but also how the spaces are organised to best suit the way your family lives. Some require large open plan rooms; others want more compartmentalised areas so, like the Browns, they can host dinner parties in the dining room then retire to a separate sitting area, all whilst the children are watching TV or playing video games in another space; connected but still independent. It is our job, as architects, to take the time to get to know you and your family so we can tailor your home to meet your specific needs now and into the future.
After 10 years, fashions have changed, fads have come and gone but the well-considered design of the Brown House has stood the test of time. As architects, we want nothing more than our designs to last a lifetime. There may be cosmetic changes to ‘keep up with the times’ but the spaces should remain functional and suitable. I was surprised and delighted to hear the Browns still receive plenty of positive comments. “When people visit for the first time, they often cannot believe it’s 10 years old! Our home fits our family so perfectly that people think we have built recently, not a decade ago!”
It was fascinating to discuss how the home has developed with the family and the elements they have added over time as, and when, they could afford them. When we designed their home, a pool wasn’t a necessity, but as something they wanted in the future, it was planned for to be added later.Although the Browns would love to build again, the location, section size and their home’s spaces continue to meet their needs, so there is no real desire to move.The opportunity to revisit one of my earlier designs and discover that it is still as functional and beautiful as it was a decade ago has reminded me just how important our job, as architects, is. We help to make your house your forever home.www.caarc.co.nz
Post-earthquake, the scale of home building is a remarkable spectacle, but few homes have captured the soul of our environment quite like Black Rock House.
Named for its situation on the Black Rock Headland in Lyttelton Harbour, the house is as secure in its position on the shortlist of the 2018 Canterbury competition of the NZIA Awards: House Category, as it is on the dug-in platform which minimises its prominence in the landscape.
With winners announced on 7 June, the judges must be impressed by the new emphasis this home gives to the phrase “locally sourced materials”. The lower floor is clad in the red rock of Banks Peninsula, dug out of its site. It’s more red than black presence blends into the surroundings, a rocky outcrop with a drop to the sea.
Jasper van der Lingen, Director at Sheppard and Rout regards it as a career highlight. “It isn’t diluted by the factors that often trim a concept, and the first ideas were in 2007. The concept had time to mature, evolve and get better and better.”
Invisible from the road above, the roof is stunning – solid concrete edged, permanent feeling, organic curves based on the headlands and bays swooping sinuously in and out around the Lyttelton harbour. Jasper’s interior favourite is a sheltered outdoor room. It faces north, where the sounds of the sea magnify as they bounce off the ceiling. Underfoot, the teak decking takes you back to the days of the sailing ships that plied their trade in the harbour.
Bowater Builders’ skilled team made the design a reality. Greg Bowater heads the Lyttelton company started by his father more than 50 years ago. “It’s a generational love affair with building on the Peninsula.”
The steep rocky hillside had its challenges, but the experienced team of subcontractors with a background in this type of project, created the very special outcome. Greg feels privileged to have worked with Sheppard and Rout and the owners to build a home that reflects well on the design of the era – creating its own piece of history. Bowater Builders has another architectural build in the 2018 NZMB House of the Year competition.
Sydenham Joinery was chosen for its high end bespoke quality service. Manager Grant Weston ensured an elite finished product to meet the standards of the home and its outlook. “Working with Sheppard and Rout on architectural builds is an organic and very rewarding process,” Grant says.
Modern styled, the materials are American White Oak timber veneer, paint lacquer in darker moody blues, and the kitchen in solid stainless steel plate. Stunningly crafted window seats in the kitchen provide a spot to contemplate the view, while the beautiful joinery combinations flow through the dining area and outdoor room, to the luxury of the library fitout.
A house designed to blend into the landscape and withstand the Central Otago elements is up for an architecture award.
Clyde House, by Wyatt+Gray Architects, has been short-listed in the housing category at the New Zealand Institute of Architects Southern Branch Awards.
Designed by Michael Wyatt, Clyde House was shaped by sun, view and wind. Wyatt knew the wind roared down the valley from Cromwell so created a balance between shelter and sun.
“The landscape has influenced the shape of the house. It has a goal post footprint, the crossbar being a glazed link between the two wings that provides downstream shelter from wind on each side,” Michael says.
The rural lifestyle block is one of the best on the subdivision as the river is on the eastern side of the house which helps with keeping the property private.
“It was built on a featureless, baron flat site, with hardly a stick to be seen, but it has established growth now and the plots are big enough that you can plant your own privacy,” he says.
The colour of the four-year-old house has “weathered nicely”. Wyatt says it’s a stained cedar to fit nicely into the Central Otago landscape.
“The surrounding hills are long, low and brown and this house is low, long and brown. I’m happy with how the colour has matured,” he says.
Alexandra-based Breen Homes was the builder on this project and Managing Director Lindsay Breen says, “Having worked with Michael before on projects more centred around the Queenstown area, we were more than happy to be asked to price this project a little closer to home. It’s always a pleasure to work with Michael and his team. We also love his designs which are well balanced between style, innovation and buildability.”
The Southern Branch NZIA awards are on 8 June in Dunedin.
Already listed on the Honours Board in the new Spencer Park Surf Life Saving Club building, CoLab Architecture is now harvesting honours for the project in the 2018 Canterbury NZIA awards, currently shortlisted to win the Public Architecture section.
True to its name, CoLab collaborated on design with Aaron Jones of Urban Function Architecture on this authentically community-driven and focussed scheme. The club was built purely with fundraising and donations, with the building industry, the community and the council working together to realise the dream. “It has been a wonderful project and process to be involved with, an extremely successful community project,” says Colab’s Tobin Smith.
Architect Blair Paterson together with Tobin had a unique brief for this building – the location: isolated, the risks: weather, tide and vandalism, the needs: utilitarian, the budget: lean, yet the want was something exceptionally unique. The result is stunning; simple but interesting; elegant but very, very hardy.
The materials are robust and fit the tight budget – which means locally available. The ground floor is concrete block “to account for the fact that the sand dunes are likely to encroach on the site at some point”.
The upper levels are 28mm thick Siberian Larch which can handle the blast of wind-driven sand, and whose colour will dilute into silver over time, blending with the thousand shades of grey evident on so many days in the land of the long white cloud.
The 900 square metre building is actually three wings. The tower contains the control and first aid stations, positioned on the path from the car park to the beach. An external walkway links the next block housing the clubroom and bar plus the replacement Spencerville Community Hall above, with gear storage. Incorporating the hall extends the use of the building from seasonal to year-round. Views and deck are fully glazed east and completely opening to the west. The suite is completed with the third wing hosting changing and bathrooms, offices and gym.
Architect Blair Paterson says, “We would love to be involved in more community projects where we can because while our work is nationwide, Christchurch is our home.”
Bushnell Builders was selected as the main contractor, getting the project across the board with a limited budget through strong buy-in from subcontractors and suppliers. “The construction for this iconic building was a true team effort,” Bushnell Builders Project Manager Brad Austin says.
“The generosity of subcontractors and suppliers who supported this project requires special mention.”
Bushnell Builders supported this project both in light of the importance of surf lifesaving in the area and supporting the local community. The company prides itself on delivering projects of a high standard while collaborating with clients, consultants, subcontractors and other stakeholders to ensure projects are a successful and enjoyable process.
The Spencer Park Surf Life Saving Club building demonstrates the success of this approach and Bushnell Builders congratulates CoLab on the 2018 NZIA nomination and for the success of the project. “As the Larch cladding fades, it will blend with the landscape and the views from the building will add to the grandeur of this iconic building,” Brad says.
“The Spencer Park Surf Life Saving Club is a project that we are very proud of and we believe that as a team we have left a great legacy for the club and community.”
Lintrathen Gardens is a multi-unit complex on a large site in Fendalton. Designed by David Sheppard of Sheppard & Rout Architects, it has been shortlisted for the local NZIA awards for 2018.
Designed with the intention of articulating the complex interplay between natural elements and contemporary form, it is a refined example of modernist architecture.
Developer NewUrban Group was thrilled with the work of Sheppard & Rout, an award-winning architectural firm in the heart of the city. NewUrban Group Executive Chair Sir Bob Parker explains, “We wanted the architecture of this project front and centre and we believe that Sheppard & Rout are the best available – they have great works of legacy all over the city.
“David’s input was crucial to its success.”
Comprising two stand-alone residences and eight spacious townhouses, the homes are scattered amongst protected trees and all have access to the stream.
“They have the feeling of size without necessarily being large which seems to be what the market demands more and more. When I was training one of my favourite tutors said to me ‘with anything you design you should really enjoy living in it yourself’, and that approach remains with me,” David says.
“There is serenity in the complex. When it comes to design, simplicity is key, we are cautious of fads or fashions – we think of lasting quality, which drives from creating quality of space.”
The striking horizontal lines of the louvres and floating concrete steps up to the decks are eye-catching, yet timeless. This has been a project of excellence for all involved, the end result is a paradise.
Handsome new commercial build Riverlands House is anchored on the corner of Victoria and Kilmore Streets, with prow pointed like an ocean liner toward the Port Hills. It is a striking addition to this prominent corner and shortlisted for the Commercial Category of the New Zealand Institute of Architecture (NZIA) Canterbury awards. The original building sat back on the site, but new city rules enabled the building to come forward to directly interface with the corner.
Chris Dopheide, Architect at Warren and Mahoney Architects, says the building is a strong example of how to make the best use of a smaller inner-city site, with hospitality at ground floor level, offices in mid-levels and topped off with apartments, to provide living/working units.
Chris says the owner was keen on low maintenance: the external materials are a GRC concrete panel system on the Kilmore Street façade which is lightweight and efficient to construct and maintain. The Victoria Street frontage is faced with striking mesh-pattern panels to control the glare from morning sunlight streaming into the office areas. The top floor apartment is clad in Euroline Seamlock, again a practical, hardy, modular system that can be readily adapted.
Lead contractor for the project was South Island owned and operated ABL Construction (Amalgamated Builders Ltd) and General Manager Canterbury Michael Johnson says the synergies between the two multi-award-winning firms made their involvement a no-brainer.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Warren and Mahoney, especially on such a high-quality project,” he says.
“It was a very collaborative environment, with both companies focused on meeting the highest standards.”
Established in 1961, ABL has achieved some of the highest accolades in the commercial contracting sector, including the New Zealand Commercial Projects Platinum Award – bestowed only on those who have won five or more national titles. The ABL team has won national awards across multiple categories including high end commercial projects, working with some of the country’s top architects.
“ABL has been around for 55 years now and during that time, we’ve been focused on open and transparent communication, working closely with the architect and client to ensure we’re delivering the highest quality iteration of exactly what they want.
“The end product speaks of Warren and Mahoney’s professional capabilities. They were brilliant to work with and Riverlands House is a fantastic addition to the city streetscape.”
The design captures quintessential Christchurch views, and the views from the apartment on top are pretty much 360 degrees. Chris’ favourite view is from the master bed and bath over Durham Street to the Port Hills, but the view from the west terrace across Hagley Park to the snow-capped mountains is pretty impressive too.