ARCHITECTURE POST COVID Like most , I have been self-isolating which is pleasantly distractionless and leads to thinking not possible in the familiar rat race. Our collective eradication efforts, together with the development of suitable vaccines ,will eradicate this incredibly contagious little enemy in the not too distant future. It seems certain that post-Covid social behaviour will be kinder, cleaner ,more people focussed, less selfish and supportive.... Read More

Loving the Libraries

The new Turanga Library in Christchurch Square won this years John Scott NZIA Award for Public Architecture. Danish public library specialist architects Scmidt, Hammer Lassen Architects designed this important addition to the Christchurch public facilities rebuild with assistance from local practice Architectus. Its recognition richly deserved and in terms of public interaction it has over a million visitors in its first year of operation. Malcolm... Read More

Joe Lstiburek

Here I was, going to an after work function along with many building professionals and architects to listen to a “building scientist’”give a presentation, Thinking this would be all about flashings, durability and roof/wall junction detailing ,the promised food and drinks to be generously provided by the sponsor made the decision to attend viable. It transpired that the “building scientist” was Dr. Joseph Lstiburek, the highly qualified... Read More

NZIA IN:SITU Conference 2019

Every two years New Zealand architects have their conference. I really look forward to it, and after weeks of anticipation, the two days of it were over in a flash. I needee to comment on the last conference and I need to comment on the significance of this one. It was the largest ever, with 1300 attendees. Morning , lunch and afternoon breaks were so socially intense that I actually looked forward to getting back to the auditorium to sit quietly... Read More

The Pertinence of Park Mews

I was sitting in my office one day minding my own business when the phone rang. The caller introduced himself as comedian Billy Connolly’s New Zealand agent. “Billy wants to meet you,” he said. Apparently on the way in from the airport, he’d passed Park Mews in Hataitai and stated: “The architect clearly possesses a sense of humour.” Read More  Read More

The world’s largest construction site

I have recently returned from the world’s largest construction site. Tower cranes and trucks everywhere. 30 years ago Dubai started as a poor fishing village at the mouth of natural waterway called Dubai Creek. Then ‘liquid gold’ was discovered. Read More  Read More


First up, allow me some nostalgia. Several years ago a group of us graduates from the Auckland School of Architecture elected to conduct a regular lunch event to celebrate the life of one of our Wellington colleagues, Brian Hope, who had died suddenly. This tradition has continued 2-3 times a year ever since, depending on co-ordination with our complex and overlapping lives. Sadly, three more of the Wellington contingent, Sir Ian Athfield, Keith Wilson... Read More

In the presence of a masterpiece

Every once in a while as I walk through a building that I have never visited before, I am overwhelmed by the feeling that I am in the presence of a masterpiece. This is what I sensed last weekend during a visit that was part of an architectural tour of Melbourne. Adding to the sense of wonder was the knowledge that my colleagues and I were among the first to experience a building that, when complete, is bound to grace the cover of every architectural... Read More

An architectural review of the film festival

I missed the Architecture and Design Film Festival this year ‘cause I was doing some architectural photography of a different variety. So I eagerly sniffed out any architectural offerings in this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival. Life is too short to watch self-indulgent and depressing drama, so my programme was biased towards interesting and (hopefully) uplifting documentaries in which architecture was either explicit or inferred.... Read More

Five Franks and a Phillip

I recently returned from mini sabbatical to the big USA. Naturally pilgrimages to iconic architectural houses were in order. I visited three Frank Lloyd Wrights and a Phillip Johnson, each open to the public and with highly informative guided tours. Top of the list was Wright’s iconic Fallingwater – well worth the four plus hour drive from Washington to its Pennsylvania location. It’s promoted as ‘Architecture as Experience’ and since it... Read More