Dongdaemun Design Plaza – Interiors

At the end of the APPC conference in Seoul we had a team building activity that took place at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza.

This gave me a chance to take some interior photos following my exteriors from earlier in the week.

In some areas the concrete forms were plastered and painted bright white, while in others the concrete was left ‘unfinished’. Overall the interiors were just as stunning as the exteriors with lots of free forms.

Zaha Hadid in Seoul

It’s quite a while since I posted some photos from my travels – which is only because all my travels in the last year or so have been to places I have posted about before.

The purpose of my visit is to attend the Asia Pacific Partner Conference hosted by GRAPHISOFT. I am also conducting a day long workshop focusing on ArchiCAD in Education.

Having arrived late last night I woke to a chilly minus one degree but decided to kick the day off with a walk as I had spotted something from the hotel window.

What I spotted and subsequently found was Zaha Hadid’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza.

Having only opened this year it is no surprise I never saw it last time I was here over five years ago – though construction began not long after my previous visit.

The building is a massive 85,000 m2 of floor area and features:

  • Design Plaza
  • Dongdaemun History & Culture Park
  • Underground Plaza

The scale and form of the building are impressive and both the concrete and metal fabrication detailing is absolutely impeccable.

Check out the photos below – and also the Interiors on Zaha Hadid’s website.

Cadimage turns 25!


18 years ago I started with Cadimage Solutions as a summer job during university holidays and never left! During my initial six weeks I convinced Murray to take me on permanently and I decided having completed my Bachelor of Architectural studies to take a break before completing the full B.Arch.

Over the last 18 years I have grown with the business, first becoming a shareholder in 2002, then Managing Director in 2005 and buying Murray and Sue out in 2006.

18 years is a long time in business with many ups and downs. It will come as no surprise that I have learnt the most during the downs.

This month we celebrate 25 years in business which is a milestone the team is truly proud of.

What do the next 25 years hold for Cadimage? I don’t know exactly but I do have some ideas about the next 5-10!

Read a little more about our 25 years at or for more history check out

Graphisoft IPC 2014 – Budapest

I’m just back from the Graphisoft International Partner Conference – the first I’ve attended for a couple of years and the first I’ve attended in Budapest since the Icelandic Volcano Episode.

This year was the biggest yet with about 400 people representing 175 Partners.

As always the event was a great chance to catch up with old friends and make many new friends. It was also good to hear the results of 2013 and both, hear and see, the plans for the future – and there are some exciting things to come!

This year provided two very special highlights for Cadimage Group and myself personally.

First up, we were awarded the Distributor of the Year award. This is an award I have worked towards for a long time and have come close to before. To finally win it was a proud achievement.


Secondly, I had been invited to present the New Zealand Story to the conference so on Tuesday morning I presented the history of ArchiCAD in New Zealand over the last 22 years – 17 years of which I have been involved in.

The story had been billed as “New License Sales Success” and everyone was expecting our sales secrets. Instead they heard about the steps we have taken over 22 years to build up a successful business. There were no silver bullets, but a huge array of stories of what had worked and hadn’t worked for us.

Presenting to partners who have been invovled in ArchiCAD longer than I had was a nerve racking experience, but even some of these partners were able to take some ideas away for their own business.

To those who attended the IPC I trust you enjoyed my story.

To the New Zealand ArchiCAD Customers, thank you for being the essential part of our business and staying loyal over the 22 years of ArchiCAD in NZ. While Distributor of the Year was a proud personal achievement it was a direct result of the fantastic team and customers we have here in New Zealand.

2013 Student Design Awards

Well the year is quickly disappearing and we once again had the pleasure of sponsoring the NZIA Graphisoft Student Design Awards.

The grand final was held last night in Auckland in front of an enormous crowd – the best turn out in the 6 years we have been sponsoring the event.

David Sheppard, John Melhuish and Camilla Block had the unenviable task of judging this years awards and while they felt there was a clear winner they were blown away with the calibre of all the work.

Taking out the top prize this year was Raphaela Rose of Auckland University.

Raphaela Rose - Auckland University

Raphaela Rose – Auckland University

Highly commended were Sacha Milojevic (the son of my first year History of Architecture lecturer – Michael Milojevic) and Nathan Swaney, both also of Auckland University making it a clean sweep – the first time since our invovlement began.

Sacha Milojevic - Auckland University

Sacha Milojevic – Auckland University

Nathan Swaney - Auckland University

Nathan Swaney – Auckland University

All the students should be congratulated for the efforts they put in to make this a fantastic event.

Judges Citations

Victoria University of Wellington, School of Architecture

Ashley Beck – Bio-Body Reactor
This exploration of the complex relationship between humans and machines (cyborgs) is presented with impressive, evocative imagery. Integral to the concept is the presence of algae and its potential to sustain humanity on several levels. The building itself has a cinematic, menacing and thought-provoking quality.

Toby Coxon – Desiring Affect
This ambitious investigation into the beginnings of the design process questions the fundamentals of static habitation. The result is a proposed bakery/café composed of a sequence of sculptural, elastic spaces.

Tara-Lee Carden – City of Flux: liberating the concrete terrain
This imaginative proposition grapples with the almost insurmountable problem of impending sea level rise. Moats, canals, locks and aqueducts are all employed to create a new urban playground and work precinct on the Wellington waterfront. The need to think beyond artificial property lines and take into account the city’s underlying geomorphology is addressed directly and confidently.

Hayden Grindell – Date with Data
An unglamorous and ordinarily unseen part of our infrastructure – data storage – takes centrestage in this project. Several solutions are investigated, one a self-contained tower of austere beauty. In another, complex, sectional relationships are explored to house disparate uses with deft integration of the groundplan.

Auckland University, School of Architecture and Planning.

Marianne Calvelo – MAD WOMEN: a contemporary architectural translation of domesticity
One of Auckland’s much-loved buildings, St. Kevin’s Arcade, is reinterpreted as the headquarters for Architecture + Women NZ. The result is a genuine alternative to conventional workspace, with cleverly integrated children’s play areas and flexible gathering rooms. The whole is intimate and intricate.

Nathan Swaney – Extraction Lands and the Permanence of Production
Offshore oil and gas rig hardware, salvaged and recycled as a ship-breaking yard, is this project’s guiding idea. The scope is expansive and heroic. The themes of industrial decay and rebirth – as well as waterfront habitation – are convincingly juxtaposed.

Sacha Milojevic – Newmarket Campus as a Porous Megaform
Created with intelligence and intuition, this project offers a vision of an educational community, conceived in an organic manner from a series of single rooms outwards. It recognises the ‘world apart’ quality great universities share, yet does not ignore its urban context. Every part of this deftly presented scheme exudes a sense of passion for architecture.

Raphaela Rose – Sex(uality) and the City: Counteracting the Cock-ups of Auckland’s Main Strip
Architecture is cleverly and gainfully employed as a mocking tool in this mischievious, satirical project. The scenario calls for the city blocks containing the Sky Tower, casino and proposed new super-brothel to be surrounded by a fun park themed by recent local sex scandals. The result is a joyful, rollicking series of attractions, each of them like an exquisitely and wittily conceived fable. Beneath that sugar-coating, a subversive message filters through, undermining the current environment that has been foisted upon the city.

UNITEC – Department of Architecture

Michael Holehouse – Architecture for the Whangamarino Wetland
Conceived as a distilled series of poetic moments, this project sensitively opens the door to a previously inaccessible wetland. Considered, restrained archetyptal forms (demonstrated by highly crafted models) have been designed to eloquently acknowledge the ground conditions on which they stand.

Tessa Crosby – Social Sutures; the integration of the medical facility into the urban tissue
This well-researched and articulated project relocates an oncology building from the isolated hospital campus to a central CBD site. It re-imagines the ground floor as a public convention centre and the beginning of an architectural promenade through the site and building. A humane and sensitively conceived piece of work.

David Cook – Reclaiming the lost city
This design for a civic arts space is a thoughtful response to some of the questions now facing Christchurch. Using materials lovingly rescued from earthquake rubble, a centrally placed oculus acts as a symbol of light and hope. The spirit of preservation embodied by the project provides an alternative to wholesale demolition.

Daniel Smith – Humanitarian Architecture, People, Place & Power
The challenges facing a western architect assisting in a Third World country are at the heart of this project. After exhaustive consultation with the inhabitants of a Cambodian village, the architect has arrived at a sensitive, honest solution for a series of new public buildings. A limited palette of materials and construction techniques, together with difficult climatic conditions, have been harnessed to deliver a convincing, positive outcome.


Disrupt by Design – Day 2 BBD Summit

Day two of the Better By Design CEO Summit was just as good as day one but in different ways.

David Kester from Thames & Hudson started the day talking about Design being at the intersection of Lover, Power and Respect and how these attributes need to be realised both internally and externally by a business. David used a very simple framework and outlined some amazing examples. One striking example was FreshPaper.

Dave Gliboa Co-founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker took us through his amazing journey to date and how they are disrupting the eyewear industry and keeping a social conscience as a core part of their business. In a word, Jeremy Moon summed this up simply with ‘wow‘ – which couldn’t have been a better reflection!

Next up Sam Morgan talked about his Foundation and about making an impact. Too many charities measure the wrong things, for example measuring schools built, rather than the number of kids who are educated. Sam was as direct as ever during Q&A and will have no doubt unsettled a few participants.

Two other notable presenters were Trey Ratcliff who shared some deeply personal stories – his slide presentation was simply an array of the amazing photographs he has taken – a passion he has only developed over the last few years. Mark Pennington of markpenningtondesign talked about the development and the success of the Life Chair by Formway as an example of the innovation and success that New Zealand businesses need to aim for.

Overall the two days were best summed up for me by the following quote from the final Q&A Panel:

“In times of change, the learners will inherit the world and the learned will find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer

Disrupt by Design

I’m just back from Day 1 of this years Better by Design CEO Summit – Disrupt by Design. Unlike last year I didn’t have my note taker so had to take notes myself!

As always the event is extremely well put together and the venue at Villa Maria is just perfect and the team there do the most amazing job along with the whole Better by Design Team.

The day has been extremely stimulating and the Tyre Changing Challenge was the perfect way to finish the conference part of the day before the dinner and networking that followed.

The stand out speaker for me today was a tie between Professor Jeanne Liedtka from the Darden School of Business and Rob Fyfe, former CEO of Air New Zealand.

Jeanne started the day with Louis Pasteur’s quote:

“Fortune favors the prepared mind”

Many of the opportunities for any business are already out there, but you need to be prepared in order to see them. Jeanne, then went on to outline the three keys to having a prepared mind:

  • A learning mindset
  • A broad repertoire
  • Customer empathy

Two examples involving George and Geoff were then outlined to contrast how these items help open up opportunities when applied to design thinking or how it impacts this process when you don’t have these attributes. The rest of the day involved many conversations about how many George or Geoff’s we all had.

Incidentally, Jeanne is also co-author of Solving Problems with Design Thinking, a book all conference attendees received in the post a few weeks ago.

Rob Fyfe, had left shortly after Jeanne’s presentation and we found out later this was to collect his thoughts. Jeanne had pretty much covered all of Rob’s content so Rob threw out his presentation and accompanying slides and took us through a number stories regarding mistakes that Air New Zealand made during his tenure. A very well put together presentation considering he had less than two hours to get prepared.

Rob outlined that it is important to embrace your mistakes, learn from them and adapt. There were many examples of great solutions that would never have been discovered except for having first made a mistake.

The other presenters were all of an extremely high calibre and Day 2 looks to be just as inspiring.

Cadimage Group – New Auckland Office

In October 1999, Cadimage Solutions moved from a home office to an actual office. This office was at 41 Taharoto Road, the place we’ve called home for 14 years.

When we first moved in the TelstraClear Building (now The Vodafone Building) was nearing completion, as the first building at Smales Farm.

A couple of years later the Tranz Rail Building was built (now the Air New Zealand Building.) Then came the Sovereign Building and Q4 – a retail and office complex.

Over the last 14 years it has been great to see Smales Farm develop and the place become a great office park with great facilities. When we first moved in to Taharoto Road it was the old Service Station pie that had to suffice for lunch, now at Smales Farm there are numerous eating options.

Fast forward to earlier this year and the ideal size office became available on Level 3 of the Air New Zealand Building and we decided it was time to upgrade and expand.

We engaged Peter Keys from Kay and Keys Architects to design the fit-out. Kay and Keys were one of the first companies I installed ArchiCAD in when I first started with Cadimage in 1996. Peter and Alastair were also the first people I trained in ArchiCAD.

Amongst other things the new office space gave us the opportunity to design a purpose made space for training  – up until now we had used a multi-purpose space.

A touch over 4 weeks ago after 5 months of design and fit-out we moved in. We are still putting on some finishing touches and we are still a couple of weeks away from having the whole team in the office at the same time but overall we couldn’t be happier.

And the 2012 winner is…

It’s been a busy year which is why posts have been few and far between. But as the year slips away we get to that time where I hit the road for the NZIA Graphisoft Student Design Awards. Two weeks ago I was in Wellington for the Victoria School of Architecture Awards and last night was Unitec’s turn.

Wednesday night however was the major event where we celebrated the work of the top 12 fifth year students across the three schools of architecture. The quality of work on display continually improves and astounds all involved.

This year I had the great privilege of awarding the top prize to Arnika Blount from Unitec – the first time Unitec have picked up the top award during our five year involvement with these awards.

The jury citations for Arnika along with the two highly commended students are below the photos of Arnika’s project.


Arnika Blount
Unitec Department of Architecture
Project: Wunderkammer

Recognising that a chance discovery presented a wonderful opportunity, the entrant has produced a highly resolved scheme that draws on impressive research and expresses a strong vision. The imaginative, credible and compelling re-use of an underground reservoir buried alongside Auckland Museum as a contemporary cabinet of curiosities is an inspired and innovative premise. With its echoes of Sir John Soane’s Museum and the cavernous realms of Piranesi’s drawings, the sophisticated project is a celebration of structure; it posits an outcome that is both poetic and tantalizingly possible.

Highly Commended

Grace Mills
Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Architecture and Design
Project: A New Agora

In this timely, well-researched and cleverly conceived project, an existing site in coastal Sumner, and familiar recreational activities, are used as the basis for a new type of suburban settlement. A sports field and its attendant grandstands are turned into a model of more intensive and more interesting habitation. The ‘new agora’ incorporates dynamic and well-planned living and working spaces, and is a vehicle for gently moving reluctant suburbanites towards a more intensive built environment. It’s a disarmingly casual and impressively creative solution.


Erica Austin, Jacky Lee, Praveen Karunasinghe, David Wong, Biran He, Alexander Haryowiseno
University of Auckland School of Architecture And Planning
Project: Future Christchurch

This is an exceptionally professional treatment of a challenging situation – the reconstruction of post-earthquake Christchurch – presented in an exemplary manner. Indeed, the presentation would be the envy of many professional bodies or agencies. The rigour of the research is evident, as is the concerted effort to make sense of the findings. The whole exercise demonstrates the virtue of collaboration; the project could not have been realized to this level if it had not been a collective effort. Therefore, besides being admirable in itself, it shows the way forward for the architectural profession by highlighting the skills architects bring to complex urban problems.

NZ Governance Diversity (or not)

This quote from this mornings NZ Herald will probably come as no surprise:

“New Zealand’s most influential and connected directors are made up of a core group of 17 men and women,”

The Herald article covers a recently released report by Effective Governance Ltd covering “Director Network Analysis of New Zealand Organisations.

While the report probably doesn’t provide overly surprising results it is worthwhile quickly reviewing if you are in the governance space. I guess one interesting item to emerge given recent talk about board diversity is that the percentage of female directors actually increases when measured based on the number of boards on which they sit.