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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.


The context for creativity: Avon Dickie

Phil Redmond Architecture and Urbanism (PRau) and Avon Dickie Construction are the collective behind the gorgeous build at the Rabbit Patch Preschool in Burnside.


“A stunning light-filled setting in blondes and neutrals, with soaring ceilings and angles that create a context for creativity”

This beautiful space follows the Reggio Emilia philosophical approach to learning where children use enquiry, investigation and reflection, working alongside their teachers to construct their own learning, by participating in long term investigations and using intelligent, artistic materials.

Guided by the Reggio principles, PRau Director Phil Redmond and his team developed their idea that the building itself should not be the typical saturation of colour – that would be the role of its tiny new occupiers.

Instead, they created a stunning light-filled setting in blondes and neutrals, with soaring ceilings and angles that create a context for creativity.

Key to the brief was that the preschool should feel like a home and the result is an incredibly desirable home, at that.

The strong relationship between the spaces means children in different parts of the building can relate to one another.

Made up of three buildings – two converted workers’ cottages already existed, the new build brings the three into one.

Together they form a semi-circular arc which hugs the playground and ensures it is entirely private from the street.

However, as a hardworking building, sheer beauty was never going to be enough.

Luckily, Phil has more than received the ‘achiever of the day’ certificate for this essay in the architecture-teaching relationship.

“The parents and children love it and take a lot of pride in it – I’m thrilled it is so successful.”