We take the briefing process very seriously. We want to work with our clients to capture the essence of what they’re trying to achieve. There’s a lot to consider when you’re thinking of building; site, design, budgets, regulations, consultants, materials, suppliers, builders and the construction process. We’ll guide you through this journey and do the hard work for you. There’s a lot of emotional investment in designing and building, but we’re here to take the pain out of the process!

The Architectural Process

We’ll always take time to explain exactly what is entailed at each step of the design process in terms of architectural services and deliverables. Specifics are tailored to each project, but below is a summary of how we arrive at a finished building.

This phase involves the preparation of a concept design for the project that addresses the client brief, and local authority and statutory requirements in relation to the site.

Once we’ve listened, we’ll prepare a detailed written brief. This document becomes an essential benchmark with which we can measure the success of the project, and helps us and you as a team to make key design decisions that meet the desired outcomes.

It’s a myth that we scribble our concepts on the back of a napkin. They’re rubbish to draw on. But we do prepare concept sketches and bulk and location diagrams, capturing site constraints (both physical and statutory) and opportunities, such as landscape, neighbours, views, sun, and prevailing wind.

Next we’ll look at a preliminary design concept, tailored to suit the specifics of the site, including sketches and layouts. We begin to explore the building through the development of a 3D CAD model, and start to ‘build’ the bigger picture, refining the preferred concept and layering detail into each set of drawings.

Developed Design
This is where details are refined and final decisions made prior to detailed design and documentation commencing, incorporating design input from secondary consultants.

During this phase the buildability of the project will be addressed, detailed cost planning will usually be carried out by the project Quantity Surveyor, and we’ll make recommendations on selected materials and finishes for approval. We’ll also give initial thought to fittings, cabinetry, bathroom layouts etc. Essentially the developed design phase is a chance to clearly understand and agree the scope of works before commencing working drawings.

Detailed Design
This phase involves the preparation of detailed working drawings and specification, that will permit an application for Building Consent, and construction to begin.

The detailed design phase typically entails the most work for us, and involves a detailed description of the work through drawings, schedules and specifications, including secondary consultant input, to a level of detail sufficient to submit for Building Consent, tender and/ or negotiate a building contract and enable construction work to be carried out.

Procurement, Observation and Administration
This phase involves the contractual and financial administration of the contract and includes periodic site visits to verify that the construction work is in general accordance with the Contract Documents and that our expectations of quality are met.

Whilst the contractor provides continuous on site supervision of the work, we will answer project queries, process variations, assess and certify project payments, and inspect and approve Practical Completion.

We arrange for the contractor to correct any defects during the Defects Liability Period, and compile final project documentation including the Code of Compliance Certificate from the Council.


Good architecture matters. The design rationale should be easily understood from the outset. We put an immense amount of thought into the process of designing, and that clarity of thought is realised in the finished work – the end result feels ‘right’.

The difference for us is in the detail. We know that every decision, even apparently simple choices, carry a knock-on effect across the entire project. By considering how materials behave in context, and detailing how they come together successfully, we effectively ‘construct’ the project on paper. With this approach we are able to resolve design decisions intelligently, without losing the initial vision.

Always when we design, context is at the heart of what we do. We believe a building should connect to the landscape in which it lies. Buildings should remind us of who we are, and where we are.

We’re intimately involved with architecture. Our aim is to make buildings which make those who inhabit them feel engaged on a personal basis. Buildings should respond to and grow from our clients’ needs and aspirations, and be timeless in their materiality and relationship to the landscape in which they sit.

Sustainable Architecture

Our environment is shared and we have been collectively entrusted to look after it. Getting the basics right early on is critical. Sustainability begins when you purchase the site, and the early decisions made are the most important. We’ll consider the orientation of the buildings on site and the arrangement of spaces within the building in response to prevailing wind, sun for passive heating and the natural light.

98% of homes in New Zealand are only designed and built to the minimum Zealand Building Code standard, and are still often cold and costly to heat. We don’t view Code as a target! We’ll help you make smart, informed choices about buildings and construction products, considered together with sensible building orientation and a well detailed, efficient fabric. A considered response will ensure affordable comfort and a healthier home. More efficient homes also lower the amount of carbon dioxide emissions released into the atmosphere.

We don’t have all the answers, but we’re motivated to learn from industry developments, and have formed relationships with those leading advancements in sustainable products and methods, so that we continually adapt our approach to use energy and resources wisely, and touch the ground lightly.