metropol » Architectural design

Tag: Architectural design

Exceeding expectations: DJ Hewitt Builders

A close collaboration between builder and designer created a home where every space suits the realities of family life.



James and Micayela Hunter have three daughters and their new St Albans home passed the ultimate functional test – a birthday sleepover for 10.

An architectural designer, James has worked with Daryl Hewitt of DJ Hewitt Builders for 15 years; their common bond being exceptional attention to detail.

Light, bright and open plan with a 2.7m stud, cedar fins greet at the front door. Past the wide entrance, office and separate lounge, American Oak fins also form the stairwell and partitioning to a cosy dining area – linking spaces with personality.

Doorways were intentionally kept to a minimum for easy-living flow between spaces. Adjacent to the living area and open-plan kitchen with a steel-framed island, a zigzag walkway leads to a private powder room, laundry and three-car garage.

It was an engineering design achievement for the 5.5m of timber fins connecting the second floor. The landing sports an extra-wide hallway for siblings to run past each other to the four bedrooms, hobby nook, and fully tiled bathroom.

“Daryl’s passion and enthusiasm for building is contagious, nothing is ever a problem and the quality of workmanship is exceptional!” Micayela says. “I am truly delighted.”

“It was a whole-team project – evereryone was so organised. It wasn’t at all stressful, and everything was finished a week ahead of schedule, giving us more time to move in.”


Happy homeowners: James and Micayela Hunter with their three daughters.

She’s enjoying her walk-in wardrobe with a light-filled picture window, and ensuite with a double shower and double sink.

The interior consultant, Daryl’s wife Tara, balanced monochromatic tones throughout, and chose a stunning textured-tile backdrop in the kitchen. “In the walk-in pantry she cleverly suggested a window between the bench and the shelves instead of a splashback.”

The 356sqm Rockcote-clad and standing seem steel home has PV solar panels, and underfloor heating. LowE glass and larger eaves keep heat out and warmth in, and foundation-ring insulation was another savvy cost-saving investment.

“It was an evolving project,” James says.

“Too many builds just keep to minimum standard. Everything exceeds minimum here – you have to love what you build!”




Exceptional versatility: Weir Architecture

One word encapsulates the work of the team at Weir Architecture – versatility. “We are working all around the South Island at the moment,” Managing Director Robert Weir says. “There are projects underway in Nelson, Wanaka, Queenstown, the West Coast, Akaroa and in Christchurch and every one of these projects is different.”



The locations demonstrate versatility and so does the work – from a large rest home, apartments and other industrial projects in Nelson, to architectural homes in Queenstown, baches in Akaroa, houses on the West Coast and hotels and restaurant fit-outs in Christchurch.

“It is so easy today with our communication systems to undertake work anywhere. Simple too, to just jump on a plane, or into a car and drive to site if we need to. I’ve driven to Wanaka and back in a day a number of times.”

As can be seen from the range of projects underway, Weir Architecture doesn’t specialise in any one sector of architecture, but works across all aspects. “My associates Raymond Barnes and John Pettersen and I have decades of experience in all forms of design and construction to offer clients.”

One thing that is a constant at Weir Architecture is listening to what clients want. “Our clients are at the centre of all our processes. Taking the time to understand their requirements is crucial to producing designs that fulfil a brief. Each project is looked at on its own merits and with an absolutely open mind.”

This client-focused approach has resulted in many architectural awards over the years. “We are thrilled to have won this year’s regional architectural design award for ‘Residential New Home over 300m2’. It’s a beachside house on Christchurch’s North Shore and it was designed to harmonise with the clients’ family lifestyle and use of spaces.”

On a larger scale, but still very much in accordance with the client’s brief, is another 2019 award winner – the transformation of the former Forsyth Barr office tower into a dynamic luxurious hotel – the new Christchurch Crowne Plaza. “This was definitely a challenging project requiring lateral thinking and all our combined experience to resolve – but the outcome earned us a commercial/industrial design award.”