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


A few years ago I attended an architectural conference in Melbourne. Students from the University of Melbourne School of Architecture conducted a guided tour by bus of their cities newest marvels. The Ashton Raggatt McDougall designed Shrine of Remembrance Visitor Centre, completed in 2006, was on their programme.  It is a new insertion sitting below the Shrine on the city side. Back on the bus, a refined English architect I had been sitting next... Read More


  Just as my cellphone needs regular recharging, my creative juices need replenishing. Every two years our Institute arranges presentations for us, from an array of local and international architects. They inspire, entertain, agitate and impassion us. Between the 10th and 13th of February last, this event happened at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland and it was brilliant. It’s great to learn how different cultures respond to design issues... Read More

Walker in the News

Roger Walker’s Avalon Townhouses recently featured in the Hutt News as an exemplar of urban intensification.  Read More


I feel driven to join the hullabaloo surrounding affordable housing. Design and construction are separate considerations beyond the scope of this blog. In many minds, including my own, housing costs relate fundamentally to the supply of land upon which to place those houses. Land at present represents more than a 1/3rd of the cost of a property. Read More  Read More

A tale of two cities

Last week, inspired by John Key’s ambitions, I caught up with Australia. Or to be more precise, Melbourne. It’s been said  that Auckland and Sydney are hedonist sisters, whilst Wellington and Melbourne are more the Brontes. Physically, whilst one city may one day shake itself to bits, and the other may burn to the ground, what interests me the most is the urban possibilities that younger Wellington can learn from its older sister.  (Even... 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