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Details matter in achieving architectural vision: Allfrey + South


Delivery of concept drawings marks an exciting milestone in any architectural project, yet what follows is critical in determining success. As architect Craig South observes, detailing holds the key to fulfilling the potential of inspiring concept design.

Architect Craig South
Craig South

 

In our practice, it is always a great feeling to share concept designs with our clients and be a part of that excitement when they can start to visualise how their finished house will look and feel.

From their perspective, it may sometimes seem as if our work is all but done at this point.

In fact, this is really only the beginning of another fundamental phase that must be managed well to ensure the design promise is fully realised.

During the next stages, technical documentation needs to be completed to a meticulous standard so the finished product will properly align with the original concept.

Such documentation will help guide the project through to an inspiring conclusion by ensuring, for example, that junctions will line up as expected and cladding will be applied correctly.

Careful detailing will also need to ensure that a building is weathertight and complies with all building code requirements.

As architects, we appreciate that this phase can sometimes feel slow for our clients who are eager to see tangible progress on-site, as it does take some time and most of this technical work is invisible from their end.

However, taking the time to get every detail right at this point will not only save potential heartache later on but will also give peace of mind that the original concept will materialise.

Our approach is thorough and includes modelling the building right down to its foundations to make sure all details are correct.

Once the documentation is completed, there is a detailed handover to the builder followed by ongoing collaboration, with documentation serving as a key communication tool.

We are very conscious of the investment clients make in our service and will do everything we can to ensure the final outcome eventuates in line with expectations.

Of course, once builders and other consultants start coming on board, we become part of a much bigger team.

Maintaining good communication across all aspects of the project as it proceeds is a top priority for us.

We work with others who share our ethos and passion, from builders to structural engineers, with our forward focus never wavering from the original architectural vision.

We continue having conversations with contractors throughout construction and seek to resolve any evolving issues or deviations from the detailed plan.

It is risky not to be involved in this way as poor detailing can have flow-on impacts that may need to be remediated or will degrade the intent of the original concept.

It is not a risk we are willing to take.

Within the overall project budget, the costs associated with achieving a quality process and robust documentation is modest.

We believe the service that architects offer in this area is invaluable.

While it is not as exciting as the concept itself, we do believe details matter and the results are obvious in projects around the city where that approach has been successfully adopted.


 

Architectural forum attracts positive response: Allfrey + South Architects


Allfrey + South Architects’ initiative ArchiChat is resonating strongly with people who share their passion for design and the architectural process. As Architect Craig South reports, the latest two-way forum sparked constructive discussion on how people like to live and holiday.

 

 

Having launched our ArchiChat Group earlier this year, it is exciting to see interest growing in this interactive social forum that we set up for people wanting to learn more about architecture and what architects do.

As well as giving people an opportunity to explore the practice of contemporary architecture, the forum is providing an invaluable vehicle for an informal exchange of thoughts and ideas. It has been a great experience and we’re certainly learning a lot from those taking part.

Our latest series, in early August, was well-attended and generated great feedback. We got the ball rolling at each session by asking people to name their favourite holiday locations. It was interesting how these places so often lined up with a passion, whether for tramping or biking, peace and quiet, or just wanting to be somewhere beautiful with family.

Discussion then turned to what sort of bach people dreamed of and how that might complement their home lifestyle. Some preferred the concept of combining a modest city home with a large bach where they could holiday in style and comfort with friends and family. Others clearly favoured a spacious city home for urban living complemented by the option of being able to escape to a small private bach.

 

 

We talked through how each option could look in architectural terms, drawing examples from our own practice. We first outlined how a large holiday house can be designed to accommodate multiple families with all the comforts of home and how this could be combined with compact living in an inner city apartment. Many felt this combination would work best if the holiday home location was not too far from the city, making it easy to invite friends and family out for a weekend away.

Secondly, we showed how a large city home can be designed to maximise easy living for children and adults, as well as catering to extended family/guests. We discussed how this could be complemented by a small bach designed to make best use of space by delivering flexibility, privacy, style and comfort.

A lot of people thought a small, low maintenance bach would be perfect for a more distant getaway. We also touched on how you could combine a small city home with a small bach and designing for one-off crowds in small spaces. Smaller buildings do offer that advantage of less maintenance.

Personal preferences will always influence how people live and play, though most attending our sessions agreed that a bach should look and feel different to day-to-day living so as to create that true sense of escape.

In these latest ArchiChat sessions, there was also lively debate on the Merivale Mall expansion and whether people favoured suburban development over growth in the central city. The consensus favoured a vibrant city centre. Needless to say, we are looking forward to another successful round of ArchiChat later this year and having more people join our conversation on architecture.

www.allso.co.nz

 

Architect Craig South
Craig South

 

Architect Craig South

Puzzle Turning to Promise in Central City: Architect Craig South

Christchurch has waited six years for the 100 day blueprint to come off the plan and deliver on its promise, but the new CBD revealed in that blueprint is now moving much closer.

Architect Craig South

The plan laid out by the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) in 2012 was a bold one, based on a vision of the city’s future produced by the Christchurch City Council in consultation with the public through the Share an Idea campaign. Nothing less than a truly liveable 21st central city was at the heart of that plan. It has been a long time coming but now, in 2018, we’re starting to see it happen, and it’s going to be amazing!

The anchor projects – a cornerstone of the rebuild – are heading in the right direction and are poised to reinvigorate our city centre with contemporary architecture and state of the art facilities.
Complementing the city’s new fabric are our heritage treasures; which I have a real passion for. After much deliberation, work to restore the Cathedral is due to get underway in coming months, while the Arts Centre restoration is in full swing. Connected by gracious Worcester Boulevard, these two Gothic Revival survivors are touchstones for the city, linking past to present.

When the new central library, Tūranga, opens in the next few months, it will be the largest library in the South Island and also one of its most innovative, I’m excited to explore all that it has to offer. I think it needed to be cutting edge and hopefully it will deliver on its potential as both a digital and print hub, as well as a cultural flagship for the city.

Te Pae, Christchurch’s $475 million convention centre, is on track to open its doors in 2020 and is already taking bookings. It is exactly what is needed to bring visitors back into the city centre. By the time Te Pae is up and running, the Christchurch Town Hall restoration will also be complete with events due to be held there from 2019.
Adding to the positive momentum, including progress on the new stadium and the city’s east and south frames, is the fabulous new waterfront taking shape along the Ōtākaro/Avon River. It is opening up the river for walking and cycling, with a promenade all the way from the Antigua Boat Sheds to the Margaret Mahy Playground.

One of my fondest memories of Christchurch from before the earthquakes is of taking a day trip into the central city by bus with my daughters; visiting the library, having lunch at a café and wandering along the Avon River. A generation of young people have missed out on experiences such as these while Christchurch has been without a fully functioning city centre. It will be great to take the girls back into the city again, now that the blueprint is becoming a reality.
Our central city has been like a broken jigsaw puzzle, but the pieces are finally coming together. Plan and reality are joining up to create an amazing liveable city, whether for working, shopping, walking, cycling or socialising. The excitement is beginning to build for what’s in store!

www.caarc.co.nz

 

Architect Craig South
Architect Craig South reviews progress on the Christchurch rebuild and finds a city on the cusp of an exciting future.