How well did your architect perform?

There are literally hundreds of things that an architect does for you behind the scenes, but distilling it down, as a benchmark for success, what 5 key things should your architect have achieved for you before you start popping the champaigne? #1 Improved your life A big ask there for sure, but think about it […]

Are You Really Ready to Build?

Problems? What problems? If you are building for the first time, it is only natural that you would feel pretty excited and enthusiastic about getting things under way – it is after all an exciting thing you are doing – very possibly a once in a lifetime thing. For the most part, potential problems and pitfalls […]

Reducing Building Costs

Reducing Building Costs

(A version of this article was published in The Press newspaper, Christchurch, and on the Stuff website on 4/7/2020) After “How much will it cost”, probably the second most common question I hear (once the shock has worn off) is; “how do I build it more cheaply?”. There are certainly a bunch of options that can save […]

Cost to Build a House

Scenario 1: 2000/m2 This might get you the very worst of the bland building company designed / out-of-a-catalogue type houses: single story, the cheapest materials and fittings the builder can source, on a typical flat site with no planning or environmental constraints. The design return on investment outcomes for ‘wow factor’ & appearance, context sensitivity, […]

Ideas to Remember

It strikes me that the terms of reference for the CERA earthquake memorial project almost entirely miss the point. Why are we limiting proposals to the location selected? The riverside site represents a number of quite profound social and architectural deficiencies and lost opportunities for any disaster memorial of international stature. The worst is that […]

Christchurch Cathedral Rebuilding

In May 2012, and again in December 2013, I had the privilege of working once more with Sir Miles Warren (I was an employee of his at Warren & Mahoney in the 90’s), on a very low cost ($18m) strategy for reinstating the Christchurch cathedral. In essence, the original masonry base would be salvaged & […]

Red Tape vs Ratepayers

Be warned, this article is something of a personal rant. I was advised by the Christchurch City Council recently that the processing of a Building Consent application I had lodged for a client could not proceed, because I had filled in a downloaded application form obtained from them in August, when I should have been […]

Architects on the Christchurch Rebuild

As an urgent public service response to Christchurch’s recent devastating earthquakes, a good number of Christchurch’s Architects who feel passionately about the city, including some of its most respected and experienced practitioners, have for some months been volunteering their time to consider and work on strategies and ideas for the reconstruction of the central city. […]

Christchurch ’48 Hours’ Competition

Christchurch Architects were put to the challenge recently, with a design competition to address the earthquake ravaged city centre. Starting at midday on 1st July 2011 and finishing an exhausting but exhilarating 48 hours later, 15 teams comprising over a hundred Architects, architectural designers, landscape architects, urban designers, engineers and students gathered together at Lincoln […]

Auckland Waterfront Competition

Just found some work we did in a joint submission with some landscapers for the Queen’s Wharf architectural competition back in 2009, intended to provide event space for the upcoming Rugby World Cup. Our scheme disappeared without a trace of course (the first clue that something was going badly wrong!) and as it turned out […]

Stimulating Environments May Save Lives

(source: Katsnelson Stress has acquired a bad image as a contributor to disease, but a little stress may be no bad thing. Mice raised in a complex environment providing social interactions, opportunities to learn and increased physical activity are less likely to get cancer, and better at fighting it when they do, a new […]

Leaky Building Syndrome, And How To Avoid It

Horror stories about poor construction standards in homes built during the 1980’s to early 2000’s dominated the news for many years. Popularly known as “leaky-building- syndrome “, this phenomenon sent shock waves through the New Zealand building industry and shivers down the spines of many potential buyers of houses built during that period. Many prospective […]

“Sustainability” – what exactly does this mean?

 Most of us take “sustainability” to be a pretty compelling and important objective, and this is an often requested feature in building design, but beyond all the marketing hype and virtue signalling, what does this term really mean?, and what exactly is required to achieve it?     Sadly, “sustainability” is rather an abused and […]