Category Archives: Architecture

Tokyo Highlights #2

Heading to GRAPHISOFT Japan on the train on Monday I caught a glimpse of a garden in amongst the high rises. On further investigation later in the week it turned out to be Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, a former imperial garden in Minato.

The garden was absolutely amazing and considering its high rise neighbours was a still and tranquil place.


This morning I had one last walk around Tokyo before heading out to the airport for my flight home and I came across the Tokyo International Forum. This building contains a 5,000 seat hall along with 7 other halls. The structure was quite stunning when viewed from both inside and out.


Below are a few more shots of the two places above along with some other architecture that caught my eye.

Tokyo Highlights

I am currently in Tokyo for the GRAPHISOFT Asia Pacific Key Client Conference (AP KCC) and have had a chance to see some of this enormous city.

My welcome was less than ideal with a sizable earthquake shortly after my arrival at the hotel but things have calmed down since.

The Yoyogi National Gymnasium built for the  Swimming and Diving events of the 1964 Olympics was a recommended place to visit and while it was on dusk and I couldn’t see inside, it was quite incredible with its suspension roof design. The Gymnasium is also going to hold the Handball competition for the 2020 Olympic Games.


The Tokyo Sky Tree, which opened more recently in 2012 was quite stunning to see but following my welcome I was a little less inclined to visit the Observation levels at close to 500m, so stuck to the free viewing on level 45 of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.


It was great to see in such an enormous city large parks and greenery which helps gives the city a very welcoming feel.



The Energy Tree (Bristol)

Having last week visited Lisbon, this week I am in our UK Office in Bristol.

When I arrived people were working frantically outside the  at-Bristol Science Centre which is just across from my Hotel.

Later on I investigated and saw the installation was a Solar Tree, providing power for people to sit down and charge their cellphones.

It was interesting to see the project was also being under taken by people recovering from drug and alcohol abuse.

Last night when I got back to my hotel, they were hosting an opening event, hence why they had been working so late the night before.

Overall I thought this was a pretty cool idea!


Lisbon – IPC 2015

Last week I was in Lisbon to attend the annual GRAPHISOFT International Partners Conference.

This is a great to meet up with old friends, make new friends and find out what has been happening around the world with ArchiCAD and the plans for the future.

I was proud to collect a Sales Growth award for the third year in a row – some real momentum in NZ ArchiCAD Sales that our Team can feel extremely proud of.

Lisbon was a beautiful city, and while I didn’t have a large amount of time to explore, we got to see a lot of the city during various events.

Sir Ian Athfield FNZIA, PPNZIA

On the 31st December 2014, Ian Athfield – an absolute legend of New Zealand Architecture – was Knighted in the New Years Honours list.

When I read that news I decided I should post some of his work to celebrate this achievement.

Unfortunately, today I have been prompted to post on the sad news of his passing.

It is impossible to have studied Architecture in New Zealand and not have heard of Ath. His work across the country and most concentrated in Wellington will be a constant reminder of his contribution to our built environment.

There are some great photos being posted on twitter that are worth checking out including his sprawling house in Khandallah.


Student Design Awards 2014

Over the last two days 12 of New Zealand’s top architecture graduates battled it out for the coveted NZIA Graphisoft Student Design Award.

As always the quality of the work was exceptional.

This years winner was Tom Dobinson from Victoria University with his project ‘Wharf Dwellers – An Expose Of Lyttelton


Highly commended were Ji Min An from Unitec with ‘Korea Korea’ and Norman Wei from Auckland University with ‘SUPER-PACIFIC-CITY: The Saga Of Lomipeau’

You can read the Judges citations below the gallery.

Auckland University, School of Architecture and Planning

Raimana Jones

Architecture of Coexistence: Regenerating Royal Oak through Urban Acupuncture
Focusing on his own neighbourhood in Royal Oak, Raimana addresses an Auckland-wide issue: the domination of suburban communities and architecture by vehicle traffic. Light touch interventions reveal a respect for the existing building fabric and a sympathetic understanding of local social conditions.

Natalee Tan

Rotovegas: Playground of Flux
By marrying speed and play with urban infrastructure, Natalee has produced a hyperbolic, hyper-real version of Rotorua, New Zealand’s tourist playground. The scheme – engagingly presented in sulpher-yellow renderings and with a rhyming couplet commentary – mandates drive-through fun for locals and visitors.

Zee Shake Lee

Moving Grounds: Irrupting Three Kings’ Inverted Volcanoes
Zee Shake’s polemical and provocative scheme is a dramatically unorthodox option for the development of one of Auckland’s much-abused volcanic cones. The moody presentation of a series of propositions provides a strong indication of the form of the architectural response to a man-damaged landscape.

Norman Wei – Highly Commended

SUPER-PACIFIC-CITY: The Saga of Lomipeau
Drawing inspiration from the Tongan myth of sea-faring Lomipeau, Norman Wei has proposed a big-boat, hydraulically powered solution to the Pacific problem of impending inundation. The horizons of this inventive, exuberant and well-illustrated scheme stretch well beyond the Islands to the shores of Asia. It’s an ingenious and very optimistic scenario.

UNITEC – Department of Architecture

Flora Kwan

Piranesi: [Th]reading the Repository
Flora’s proposal explores the mysteries of Piranesian space, as illustrated in the Carceri series of drawings, and expresses a contemporary spatial approach that resonates with Piranesi’s ideas. The scheme is a brave attempt to make design sense, through physical and digital models, of Piranesi’s claustrophobic, labyrinthine vision.

Ji Min An – Highly Commended

Jo Min’s entry is a well-judged means of using architecture to explore an intractable political problem. The proposal for a factory sited in the middle of the Korean DMZ in which workers from both North and South would produce Kimchi – the non-partisan national dish – is clearly presented, tightly edited and very focused. It also manages to be both realistic and optimistic in its appreciation of an issue architecture could only ever alleviate, not solve.

Mayank Thammalla

Swim Or Sink
Mayank’s innovative and research-driven proposal responds to the situation of the Maldive Islands which, thanks to global warming, face a submarine future. Semi-submersible oil rigs are re-purposed as platforms for displaced communities; the scheme is logical, knowledgeable, and clearly explained and presented.

Shane Tregidga

The Steaks Are High
Shane foregrounds the issues attending modern bovine grazing in his proposal for a vertical urban tower for the production of beef. A cow ‘cradle to grave’ system – it could also work for goats and pigs, where culturally appropriate – confronts city dwellers with the realities of the provision of their meat. The scheme is supported by in-depth research and was rendered possible by an enterprising, problem-solving attitude.

VICTORIA – Department of Architecture – Faculty of Architecture and Design

Benjamin Allnatt

Plan B Hive: An Outpost In The Hinterland
After an earthquake in Wellington the Beehive’s occupants are relocated to a groundscraper fortress in the Kapiti Coast foothills. Clever siting, a bold and singular formal treatment, and a strong polemic distinguish Benjamin’s scheme. This is a real proposition, presented with wit and verve.

Hamish Beattie

Topology Of A Phantom City
This is a brilliantly illustrated presentation of an ambitious proposal to address the needs of inhabitants of slums or ‘informal settlements’. Hamish’s scheme envisages the combination of basic digital technology – the ubiquitous Minecraft game – with a sophisticated, vertically integrated system that recycles waste into energy and the construction materials needed to build sustainable communities.

Tom Dobinson – Winnder

Wharf Dwellers – An Expose of Lyttelton
Tom’s proposal to open up public access to Lyttelton’s privatized wharf, and at the same time explore the town’s ‘underbelly’ and the persona of one of its distinguished inhabitants, the artist Bill Hammond, is inventive, curious and assured. The scheme is the very impressive product of a highly iterative process. Clearly and legibly presented, and well put together, it reveals its author’s talent for analysis, skill in assembly, and deep interest in the social and architectural condition of his hometown.

Carinya Feaunati

E Toe Sasa’a le Fafao ; Return to Paradise
Carinya’s scheme for the regeneration of a tsunami-damaged Samoan fishing village expresses her impressive immersion in the project and her commitment to mastering craft skills. Scientific data and fieldwork interviews have informed good architectural judgement, exhibited in the sensitive amalgam of traditional principles and construction methods and modern architecture.

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.

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.


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.