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.

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 Architecture Medal 2012 – Auckland Art Gallery

Since I started this Blog I have at various times posted photos of architecture from my overseas visits. For a long time I’ve been meaning to post about New Zealand Architecture, so here goes.

Late last year I visited the upgraded Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. I took a few photos with my phone but never got round to posting them.

Last month, at the NZIA Annual Architecture awards the Art gallery was awarded New Zealand’s top prize in Architecture the New Zealand Architecture Medal. This recognition prompted me to finally write a post.

“The Auckland Art Gallery is a most deserving winner of the Architecture Medal,” says the convenor of the awards jury, Wellington architect Hugh Tennent. “There were high hopes for this building, and big challenges to overcome. The architects had to work with an existing heritage building and a sensitive site on the edge of Albert Park, as well provide all the spaces and amenities required by a twenty-first century art gallery.”

Originally built in 1888 (an old building by New Zealand standards) the Gallery has been restored, strengthened and extended. The detailing of the extension is amazing with the quality of craftsmanship clear to see.

As an aside, for those of you who aren’t from Auckland, while you can’t experience the building in person you can view the Gallery’s collection via Google’s recently released Art Project.

BIM around the World

There is no doubt that Building Information Modelling (BIM) is  and there are a number of initiatives happening in both New Zealand and internationally that reinforce this. However, exactly what BIM is still causing wide-spread confusion.

A recent survey by Masterspec here in New Zealand while on one hand showed a high percentage of respondents saying they use or are aware of BIM, when asked what BIM was results varied greatly! The survey is definitely worth a look for those in the NZ Building Industry.

The survey obviously presents a New Zealand view, while this article from AEC Bytes gives an update of BIM initiatives from around the world.

Lastly anyone who thinks BIM is just about software needs to read this article - Getting a BIM Rap: Why Implementations Fail, and What You Can Do About It – again from AEC Bytes. It outlines that significant organisation change is required for BIM adoption and those that don’t make fundamental changes are likely to fail with their BIM adoption. I particularly liked the story of the CEO who attended all the training sessions to help set an example. CEOs in my mind should almost be called CCM’s – constant change managers but that is a topic for another post I have been meaning to write for sometime.

Icebreaker – Design Discipline

As mentioned previously I as recently at the Better by Design CEO Conference. The Chairman of BBD is Jeremy Moon who is the founder of Icebreaker.

For those of you unfamiliar with Icebreaker there was recently an article in the New Zealand Herald. While not a comprehensive overview of the business it does outline much of the underlying philosophy of Icebreaker.

One quote mentioned at the BBD conference that I particularly liked was:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Jeremy shares this attitude  in his words:

“It’s much easier to add stuff than take stuff away. Taking stuff away is discipline”


The Rock – Wellington Airport

With the help of PictureTalk we recently produced a video for Graphisoft. The video talks about the design process for a new terminal at Wellington Airport dubbed The Rock

The Project - The Rock, Wellington Airport

Winner, Transportation category, Inside World Festival of Interiors 2011

Finalist, Serve & Facilitate category, The Great Indoors Award 2011

Winner, Commercial Architecture Award, NZIA Wellington Architecture Awards 2011

Winner, Gold Award and Purple Pin, Spatial Design category, BEST Awards 2011

Winner, Interior Fitout Award, NZ Wood Timber Design Awards 2011

Winner, RMB Commercial Project of the Year, Registered Master Builders Awards 2011


A challenging brief with a double ambition meant that the redevelopment of the Wellington International Airport Passenger Terminal, completed in 2010 in association with Warren and Mahoney Architects, required a unique and innovative design.

The first task was to meet a set of complex technical specifications and optimise the available pocket building site, heavily constrained by aircraft choreography. In conjunction with external apron works, the project involved the expansion of interior open lounge floor area, new retailing, linkages from the new passenger processing area and an increase to eight aerobridge-capable gates.

As the gateway to Wellington for international passengers, the brief also demanded that the building offer a memorable visitor experience through a unique, edgy aesthetic that embodied a strong sense of place.

The oscillating outline of the new building was derived from the curved indentations of aeroplane docks into the confined triangular site. The organic irregularity of this outline dovetailed with the concept of the building as a crusty, enigmatic rock embedded in the runway – a gesture to the land’s geological past, recalling its kinship with the craggy, sea-battered Wellington coast. A radical departure from contemporary airports worldwide, preoccupied with the imagery of lightness and flight, the Rock terminal instead evokes the anchoring qualities of the land that rises to meet planes as they touch down and the coast that recedes away from them as they depart. Its copper finish is a mirror for Wellington’s swift transitions from grey sky to gold sunlight, as well as providing unparalleled durability in a corrosive environment of sea air and aircraft fuel gases.

In contrast to the bland, mall-like interiors that typify most international airports, the interior of the Rock exudes warmth and resounds with personality. Honey-coloured macrocarpa ply softens theatrical strata of dark-stained panels fissured with light. Spaces unfold on varying levels and exploration is welcomed, with journeys through the interior gently modulated by a series of ramps. Travellers are able to enjoy interior areas that are engaging and restful, impressive and intimate.

Client: Wellington International Airport Ltd.

The Company – Studio Pacific Architecture

Studio Pacific undertake a large range of projects, from small individual furniture items to large projects involving entire new towns. The small scale work includes new houses, additions and alterations, and retail work. The larger schemes include large multi-unit residential and commercial buildings as well as masterplans and landscaping.

Studio Pacific was established in Wellington in 1992 by the three directors: Nicholas Barratt-Boyes, B. Arch, ANZIA, RIBA; Stephen McDougall, B.B.Sc, B.Arch, FNZIA; and Evzen Novak, B. Arch (Hons), ANZIA, RIBA. Prior to establishing the Studio, all three directors studied and/or worked together in New Zealand before working for a period in Europe: Evzen studied in Berlin and worked in Switzerland and London, while Nick and Stephen were based in London and worked on projects throughout the U.K. and Europe.

The collective international experience gained by the directors in Europe set the platform and influenced the direction of the practice. From early design competitions and small residential commissions Studio Pacific has evolved into an award-winning substantial and creative practice with diverse projects throughout New Zealand. Particular recognition has been given to the studio for working with the arts, urban regeneration, housing, masterplanning and contemporary workspace planning.

Marcellus Lilley – Associate, Lead Project Architect for The Rock

B.B.Sc, B.Arch, ARB (UK), ANZIA

Marcellus Lilley joined Studio Pacific in 2003 and has been an Associate since 2005. Marcellus has a Bachelor of Building Science and a Bachelor of Architecture from Victoria University of Wellington, and has completed post-graduate study at Westminster University, London en-route to becoming a registered architect in the United Kingdom. He is also a New Zealand registered architect.

Marcellus has broad experience in urban renewal, mixed-use and multi-unit residential projects during five years of working in London, and before that, education and residential projects in the Hawkes Bay. Since joining Studio Pacific, Marcellus has been lead Project Architect on the MOTAT Aviation Display Hall project, the Wellington International Airport Terminal Development Project (Stage 01 and Stage 02) in addition to various smaller commercial and civic projects and competition work such as the Royal Society of New Zealand Campus.

Marcellus also co-ordinates the Studio systems group (SPARK) that monitors and develops the Quality Management System utilised by the Studio.

He has travelled extensively and maintains a keen interest in design and the delivery of projects through the role of Project Architect.

Karl Frost – Senior Technician

Karl graduated with a Bachelor of Building Science degree with Honours from Victoria University in Wellington in 1990. He started in the building industry with Jasmax, working on the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand project in the Auckland office for 2 years and then on-site in Wellington for 2 more years. This was followed by a brief stint overseas before he returned to Wellington in 1999 and joined Studio Pacific Architecture. Since then he has worked on a wide range of urban and commercial projects.

Karl is one of Studio Pacific’s most experienced CAD users, skilled in both modelling and documentation. He has worked as a team member on a number of commercial projects as a CAD leader and technician. His experience is invaluable for coordinating CAD information between Studio Pacific and other consultants.

Developing Better Boards

There has been a lot of discussion over the last while about the need for New Zealand companies to focus on developing better boards. These discussion are as varied as talking about the importance of a formal Board of Directors for SMEs through to creating diversity on the boards of New Zealand’s publicly listed companies.

SpringBoard NZ is an organization that was set up to encourage younger people to take up board positions and to encourage companies to appoint younger directors.

SpringBoard has now led to a new website that is focused on Appointing Better Boards and to keep it really obvious that is what the website url is -

On the subject of diversity the NZX have recently released a consultation document. Not overly surprising is the submission being made by SpringBoard is that diversity of age is as important as other forms of diversity.

For those of you interested in governance I strongly recommend looking at both SpringBoard and Appoint Better Boards – if you are interested in roles or have a board opening make sure to sign up.