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Beachside Modernism: HMO Architects x Owens Building

Thoughtful and flexible additions to a 1950s mid-century home in Sumner, originally designed by architect Paul Pascoe, have earned Duval O’Neill and his team at Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects a place on the shortlist of the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ 2020 Regional Awards.




Understanding the eminence of Paul Pascoe (himself an NZIA Gold Medallist) in mid-century New Zealand architecture, the home owners knew they needed to find an exceptional architect who understood and appreciated modernist properties.

Hearing that Duval had his own mid-century home, they realised they wouldn’t do better and the finished property reflects the empathy of its designer with the principles of the modernist movement.

The small three-bedroom, one-bathroom house is now transformed into a much larger four-bedroom with ensuite and a new laundry, as well as a second living room that can double as a sleeping area.

The bedroom addition frames a new sheltered internal courtyard while also acting as the end point for the gallery link and a portal to the contained garden.

Central to Duval’s design concept is the rationalisation of circulation and entrance areas, retaining the long garden view as well as repeating the roofline and choosing materials which respected the essence of the original Pascoe design.

The addition features the same cedar boards, copper nails, door handles, recycled rimu flooring, window frames, eaves, interior and exterior colours, and overall proportions.

The HMOA team has ensured a clear division between adult space and the children’s bedrooms and play areas.

Owens Building partnered with HMOA on this special project and Director David Owens enjoyed both the clients’ and Duval’s commitment to the original architecture of the home.

Owens Building places a premium on integrity, ensuring every project represents its commitment to excellence.

“Our delivery style and our relationships with clients and designers is of utmost importance to us, and often leads to great friendships forming,” David says.

“Also, as enthusiasts of mid-century architecture ourselves, it was a joy to be part of the project team,” David says.

Owens Building relocated to Wanaka in 2016 and has since become involved in a number of projects involving passive house principles.

David and family are soon to move into a newly constructed home which incorporates these principles and elements of mid-century design, so offering the best of both worlds.


The architecture of transportation hubs: WSP Architecture

It’s never been so important to attract and entertain visitors in our New Zealand towns and cities.

By Matt Sloper, Architect at WSP Architecture

A common problem faced by visitors and locals alike is access to transportation infrastructure.

Nationwide, councils are now looking to explore infrastructure developments designed to transform town centres, eliminating congestion issues, improving accessibility, providing new public amenity spaces and enhancing the visitor experience.

The key design driver for a transportation hub is a strong urban focus, resulting in high quality solutions that sit sympathetically within the urban context, address the surrounding street frontages, are inviting and safe, allow easy permeability through the site, provide added community amenity, and are well integrated with the surrounding neighbourhood.

Where natural beauty surrounds the sites; an appropriate design response is for the built insertions to be complementary with, but subservient to, the broader natural environment.

Texture, light, shade, materiality and colour are carefully considered to give the exteriors a sculptural quality, and one which adds interest whilst also reducing the overall visual impact.

These hubs service mixed transportation modes, including built-in capacity to accommodate greater numbers of electric vehicles in future.

Transportation hubs should embody connections with local culture and history, creating a distinctly local flavour that speaks of its place and reinforces the destination’s reputation as a meeting place and social and economic centre.

Although responding to a pragmatic functional need they make a positive contribution to the character and quality of New Zealand towns and cities for all to enjoy.


Powerful on Park Terrace: PRau x H+M Builders

A special setting deserves a striking design, and that is what Phil Redmond Architecture and Urbanism (PRau) has created for the historic site on Park Terrace overlooking Hagley Park.



A regional finalist for the NZIA competition, Phil and his team were given plenty of scope, with the client brief simply specifying three bedrooms and a double garage.

The completed home lands on the line between inventive but familiar, drawing as it does on the traditional clean gable form of residential Christchurch and meshing it with historic industrial brick warehouse form.

The black bricks are laid in Flemish bond, full length then end length, with some end length bricks proud of the surface which adds texture and plays with shadow and light.

While the exterior is dark, simple and clean, the interior features the softness of blonde wood.

Of many surprising and sleek features, Phil’s favourite are the solid steel heavy windows.

“They are so dark during the day, but at night, lit from within the scene shifts and the house becomes light and sculptural.”

The dormer windows frame considered views, engaging with Hagley Park and generating a secluded connection.

H+M Builders gave this very special design its final form.

Directors Hamish Inch and Matt Stephens are passionate about bespoke architecture and Matt says, “working with Phil was a breeze from the outset. Phil’s attention to detail and vision made our interactions with the clients very simple”.

Phil says, “PRau and H+M Builders share a focus – we create pieces of timeless architecture that people will enjoy. Hamish and Matt have brought a house together that this family, and admirers, will enjoy for years to come.”

A favourite element for Hamish and Matt was fashioning the intricate detailing, a process that left zero tolerance for error.

The interior finish that features pre-finished hot-rolled steel panelling is a highlight, as are the concealed pivot doors, enclosed by the dormer-laden tray roof.

“We’ve loved working with quality products and turning a set of plans into a physical structure, and of course having our clients see their dream take shape,” Matt says.


Magic in Merivale: Barry Connor

By combining classic design elements and modern influences, Barry Connor Design’s latest award-winning project is a stunning home, perfectly positioned amongst a private courtyard and garden.



Last year, this Merivale property took home the 2019 Architectural Designers’ New Zealand (ADNZ) Highly Commended Award for the Residential New Home between 150 and 300sqm category.

Located in a quiet residential setting, this single story, easy-care home takes influences from modern design with its open layout and curved windows, and more traditional styles.

“The site is framed along the road side by an existing boundary brick wall that curves into the site at the entry and this set up one of the initial cues for the dialogue of the concept design,” Barry says.

“The classic heritage red brick wall references the past and so we set upon considering a modern interpretation of this for the new home.”

Built by Mark Prosser Builders, the house is light, bright and open.

Efforts to maximise these elements have been enhanced at every design opportunity throughout the compact 11m wide site.

The main living, kitchen and dining spaces are located to the front of the home and open out to the main courtyard garden.

This allows year-round morning sun to filter through the house and creates a home that feels like it’s a part of the garden, drawing adults, kids and dogs alike outdoors.

“At Barry Connor Design, we believe great homes begin with great design. And great design always begins with you.”

For more information, phone Barry today on 0212035992, or email



First steps for your new build: Classic Builders

Christchurch is the fortunate host of the latest show home built by Kiwi established and operated company Classic Builders. You’ll find this twin-gabled beauty at 23 Avanda Avenue in Rolleston and there you’ll discover the perfect combination of elegant design and top-quality value for money.


Established in the Bay of Plenty, Classic Builders has earned a formidable reputation throughout New Zealand as one of the leading and most trusted residential builders in the country over the course of more than 24 years.

Today, they’re the second largest builder in New Zealand, with seven privately owned branches from Northland to Otago.

Their growth and success to date are testament to the unrivalled commitment they show their clients throughout the build journey, making the clients’ needs a priority every step of the way.

We caught up with Dave Fahey, Regional Manager for Classic Builders about first steps for your new build.

How should I choose the right plot of land to build my home?

For me it is always about the sun.

Getting a section with the right orientation is key, for thermal efficiency, health of the home and outdoor enjoyment.

Your section needs to be located to enhance your lifestyle – recreation, work, family needs have to be a consideration.

Also, look at the stability of the land.

A TC1 section is far more cost efficient to build on and that frees up funds for specifications and aesthetics of the home. Lastly, the budget.

The combination of build cost and land cost determine the feasibility of a project.

There might need to be compromise with where you live in order to achieve what you want to build – or vice versa.

Can I bring my architectural plans to Classic?

Absolutely, while we have a large portfolio of plans to choose from, we are very happy to bring your dream plan to life.

Can I customise Classic Builders’ plans?

Again, absolutely. In my time with Classic I don’t believe I have ever built one of our standard plans without some form of alteration.

We are happy to adapt any plans to ensure that it 100 percent meets your needs and desires, or reorient a plan to take advantage of sun, views, or special features of the section.

The most important thing for us is that our clients get everything they desire out of the design process.

How do I compare builders?

Word of mouth is possibly the best form of advertising, and client referrals bring in most of our work. Ask friends and family that have built.

Look for companies without provisional sums in their contracts – you want the true cost of the project not the one that looks good on paper.

Ask questions about what is and is not included in the price and compare apples with apples.

Look for a company that has stood the test of time and ask to view their work.

What will I need as a deposit?

That depends on how you want to structure your build. For a house and land package we need a 10 percent deposit.

We hold this in a secure trust account. From there no further payment is required until the building is complete, the code of compliance is issued and the customer has completed a full walk through, ensuring that the house is complete and they are 100 percent happy with every aspect.

With a progress payment structure, a minimal deposit will be taken.

The remaining progress payments are made once the floor is down, when the roof is on, the building is closed in, the walls are gibbed and stopped, and the final one upon completion.

To ensure we are doing the best for the client, we only require progress payments once the work has been completed, meaning that the homeowner is only ever paying for work that has been completed and that they therefore own!

What should I look for in a warranty?

In my opinion, the most important aspect of a warranty is that it looks after you equally from day one to year 10.

It should be transparent, backed by a strong performing provider and be easy for any claims to be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Who should I talk to about my ideas?

Speak to the Classic Builders team in your region. In Canterbury call me on 021 196 1480 or visit the website



Surprising & Smart

There is nothing so gripping as a mystery slowly revealed and that is what you get with this surprising and smart Marama Crescent home, designed by Ben Brady of Linetype Architecture and built by Dean Harrison from H3 Builders.



At street level, the observer sees the garage and entry way, angular and facetted in stack bond concrete block.

Those who make it across the threshold then see the home expand into the courtyard downstairs, with a stimulating range of spaces and orientations.

The sloping site generated three levels: entry, down to main living and master bedroom, down to two further bedrooms on the lowest level.

Extensive glazing provides sight-lines through the building to capture views of the city around to the Kaikoura Ranges, from that vantage.

Large windows frame the vistas from each room while clerestory glazing above the living room captures light.

With easy care in mind, the owners sought low maintenance and solidity, choosing cladding in powder coated aluminium in Bronco and Canvas Cloth, with colourfast timber composite Innowood.

They also briefed a concrete floor to provide solidity, building performance and heat, but this required a robust structure involving plenty of steel with panels underneath, designed by Ben.

“There are almost as many structural drawings as architectural drawings for the house,” he says.

Connected yet separate spaces are a feature, as is a blurred concept of inside and out.

Concrete block is used inside as interior pillars, and an off-form concrete beam plus the courtyard extend in to support the top-level landing.

Vaulted stagger patterned poplar plywood ceiling, in the living areas connect them to the upper level.

Ben found Dean impressive to work with. “He needed very few calls to get his head around the structure. He is so enthusiastic, with high standards and close attention paid to sequencing.”

Dean says, “We loved the build complexity: angles, three-storeys and the sheer variety of elements, which included exposed insitu concrete beams, honed concrete blocks, pre-finished cladding and timber ceiling.”

Hands-on every day from shovelling mud, to project management, Dean loves the challenge of a hill site.

“Ben’s plans were great and he is easy to work with: always ready to discuss ideas and solutions. The enjoyable challenge created a really great house.”


Embracing Design Practice

From small scale pavilion installations to large multi-unit developments, digital design technologies are radically shaping new avenues of design in architecture.




Imagine being able to seamlessly collaborate between designers, clients, iwis, artists, consultants, and the council; produce designs without having to ‘draw’ a single line; undertake multiple design explorations in a fraction of the time of conventional methods; optimise material usage; minimise project waste and cost; and immerse yourself virtually in the design from concept to completion.

These are just a few of the real-world applications of digital design technologies available to designers today and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

By utilising digital design technologies in partnership with digital-led fabrication methods, we will start to see a challenge of the status quo on a commercial scale.

Instead of mass production we will see mass customisation, a process of file to fabrication, a reduction of time it takes to construct a building and a reduction of misinterpretations between those involved.

I believe that applying these digital technologies balances the ever-increasing demands of the built environment and produces refined architectural outcomes.

Be it a house extension or a new multi-unit development, why not take advantage of all the tools at hand and create something truly rewarding with a tailored fit?




Collaborative Luxury

CoLab Architecture proved itself the superlative choice to design the three luxury homes on the stunning site vacated by historic Parkdale. CoLab Director Tobin Smith designed styles complementary to the outcomes the developers sought for this very distinct niche and, as the name over the door suggests, collaborative work is a specialty.



The Heaton street frontage forms part of the city’s character assessment area.

Tobin wanted to keep the scale of the original homes in the area but not replicate them.

“CoLab is creating a new heritage that we hope will still be celebrated in 100 years’ time,” Tobin says.

“We have a style that is becoming recognisable and you can see it particularly in the rear house with its strong gable forms that are part of the illustrious Christchurch school of architecture. Brick cladding honours the original homestead, it is soft and in keeping with the area.”

Each home is distinct: “Resorting to three identical builds for efficiency’s sake was never contemplated,” Tobin says.

“The site and the community deserved the best in design and construction.”

Each home does however have a generous envelope, with the beautiful stream and surrounds as the focus.

“The art of it was the design and position to maximise privacy and outlook.”

Takahe Construction led on bringing the homes to life.

“They brought a proven track record to the project and there is such strength in collaboration. There was incredibly valuable feedback going back and forth between us as we put the houses together – it creates a learning environment all around,” Tobin says.

“The level of finish achieved in these homes and the quality craftsmanship are second to none.”

Tim Forman of Takahe says, “In partnership with CoLab, the team at Takahe and its subcontractors were driven by quality throughout these builds, with a clear understanding of CoLab’s vision. It’s been a real pleasure to work with such a positive and encouraging team.

“The architecture was challenging and extremely detailed and, by all accounts, an incredible experience to bring this to life. V grooved cathedral ceilings with clean negative details are a real feature that continue throughout the form of the houses,” Tim says.


Big plans for redevelopment

The appointment of Weir Architecture to transform the Hereford Street office block that once housed Scorpio books into a stylish boutique hotel, assures Christchurch of a delicious treat to be sampled in around 18 months. National Award Architectural winner in 2019 for The Crown Plaza Christchurch project, Weir Architecture has stunning plans for the building which forms part of the Hilton Tapestry group.


Strengthened, remodelled and with a top floor added, the hotel will be named The Modern.

Destined to become one of the city’s treasures, it will feature a retro interior – a fabulous take on the 1960’s modern era of interiors. Robert Weir, Director of Weir Architecture says the company sought something completely unique to Christchurch and realised the proponents of art, architecture, furniture and interior design of the 1960s in Christchurch should be celebrated.

Inspired by local artists’ works stored at COCA, as well as local titans Miles Warren and Peter Beaven, plus international architecture stars of the 60s, the furniture and artworks will be authentic.

The theme dictates the colour palette, the use of timber, leather, carpeting, and wall finishes in panelling and wallpaper.

Robert is lead consultant, working with developer Tailorspace and the hotel will be operated by the Sarin Group.

Hosting 70 rooms, the ground floor restaurant and café bar will be operated by the hotel, and we can look forward to a visit in 18 months.

“It’s really exciting to be working on this sophisticated hotel redevelopment and it’s always wonderful to work with a strong brand such as Hilton,” Robert says.


The story of an icon

Christchurch’s proud tradition of exceptional public architecture is evident in one of the city’s favourite buildings – the Christchurch Town Hall.



Playing prestigious host to numerous celebrations, concerts and civic events over the years, the building once described as the city’s ‘public living room’ reopened triumphantly in 2019 after a successful campaign for its restoration.

Through the tortuous beginnings of the original project, to the battle to save the complex post-quake, a new book published by Canterbury University Press, captures an intimate story of the building’s survival.

It was a fitting project for former Associate Professor of Art History at UC Dr Ian Lochhead who edited The Christchurch Town Hall 1965–2019: A dream renewed.

Dr Lochhead was an early advocate of repair and restoration, expressed his views in a piece titled ‘Let our public living room live again’ published in The Press on 20 March 2012.

When the facility opened to much fanfare and civic interest in 1972, the auditorium in particular was unlike anything seen in New Zealand before, Dr Lochhead explains.

While Sir Miles Warren led the creative architectural team (establishing the reputation of Warren & Mahoney nationally), it was Sir Harold Marshall who was responsible for the world-class acoustics that changed the way concert halls around the world were designed from that point on.

The quality of Marshall’s acoustic design attracted performers of the calibre of Leonard Bernstein, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Carlos Santana and, just last month, renowned cellist YoYo Ma, and saw Christchurch recognised alongside the great concert halls of Vienna, Boston and Lucerne. The Philharmonie de Paris, which opened in 2015, took its design cues from the Christchurch Town Hall, to the extent that the French employed Marshall Day Acoustics, the practice established by Harold Marshall in 1981.

The compelling story of the incredibly challenging restoration is recounted in chapters by Peter Marshall and John Hare and captured in photos by former UC photographer Duncan Shaw-Brown and by Olivia Spencer-Bower.

UC returned to the Town Hall for its graduation ceremonies in 2019, one of many key Christchurch organisations to again use this much-loved space for their most important celebrations.

The Christchurch Town Hall 1965–2019: A dream renewed, edited by Dr Ian Lochhead, is available now in hardback edition and online.