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

ATH 1940-2015

Ath was adopted. His birth parents were 17 years old, so maybe that it why his mind remained perpetually young and inquiring. In November last year, a few of us architects of a certain age had our regular lunch in Wellington. At 12.30 Ath said he had to leave, in order to catch a flight to Dunedin at 2.30. ‘Thats fine’, we said, ‘you’ve plenty of time.’ Ath replied that he just had to pop into the hospital on the way to the airport,... Read More

Plan to keep breathing

The team from Walker Architecture and Design was in Christchurch last night to hear the Minister of Building and Housing announce the winning project for the Breathe Urban Village. By now you may well know through media coverage that ours was not the winning scheme (at least not in the eyes of those who made the decision!)   The news was not new to us.  After a period of intense meetings and negotiations with us and one other team, organisers... Read More

Thinking outside the box

Christchurch has been on my mind a lot lately as I progress work on our development of our scheme for the Breathe Urban Village project. Now that the rebuild of Christchurch is shifting up a gear, Joe Bennett (he who challenged an official order to leave his beloved home of 25 years in the Port Hills because he felt he should be in charge of his own mortality) has had this timely poke at the what he perceives to be the design response of the architecture... Read More

Success in International Competition for Christchurch

Walker Architecture and Design, along with developer partner Ceres NZ, was announced as one of four finalists in the ‘Breathe – new urban village project’ at a ceremony in Christchurch last night.  Read the Christchurch Press coverage of the event. In a  media statement, principal Roger Walker said he was thrilled that the company had made it to the next step of this important competition. “I am passionate about the ability of medium density... Read More

Born Again Cathedral

Euthanasia is not an Anglican belief, yet the Anglican hierarchy wants the Christchurch Cathedral killed off. This poor damaged building apparently doesn’t qualify as sanctity of life. Theologian Richard Hooker,  a founding father of Anglicanism, speaks of scripture, reason and tradition, as the three divines of the faith. Where is the reason in either of the polarised options: brutal demolition, or unimaginative stone by stone restoration. Now... Read More

RIP Peter Beaven

Let me add to the many tributes paid to a dear colleague and mentor Peter Beaven who passed away this week.  The architectural tributes are understandably glowing. My thinking is that while his lungs eventually gave in, I know his heart would have been as big and passionate as ever. That heart gave me such inspiration in dealing with the academic constraints at the Auckland School of Architecture in the late sixties. His influence on my own modest... Read More

A walk around the Red Zone

On March 9th I had to give evidence at a frustrating planning hearing in Christchurch. Afterwards, and to escape the confines of windowless Hearing Room No 2, I went for a long walk around the red zone.  Its still very secure courtesy of Health and Safety official-dom and the prospect of still-unemptied ATM’s. Anyway, here are captioned images from my circumnavigation.   ... Read More

Urban Designspeak

Since its publication in 1971, Danish Urban Designer Jan Gehl’s “Life between Buildings” has become the bible of Urban Design. Like Gideon’s bibles finding their way into hotel rooms , Gehl’s book is at every town planning department in the western world. It’s been reported that as a young architect working in the suburbs he and his wife, a psychologist, had many discussions about why the human side of architecture was not more carefully... Read More