Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A new private residence is planned for Auckland's Rodney Ward. The [MAHINA HOUSE] will grace lovely Kawau Island and what a beauty it is. We love the sculptural quality of the house, the contemporary interior design and the fact that it is transparent - letting us look in. Now we have one more reason to visit Kawau Island.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


On the outskirts of Auckland lies a beautiful vineyard which promises to take your breath away - [BRICK BAY VINEYARD + SCULPTURE TRAIL] is a paradise for wine, art and architecture lovers. The setting is a garden of Eden, the food is fresh and Mediterranean, the sculpture trail is immense and the Glass House is a beautiful piece of architecture. 

The drive alone is worth the effort, make sure to have a Devonshire tea in Puhoi at New Zealand's oldest tea room, stop for some fresh produce at the farmer's market in Matakana and make sure that you have a dip in the ocean at glamorous Omaha Beach where some of New Zealand's wealthiest have holiday homes. You may even bump into New Zealand's Prime Minister - John Key.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Finally, after what must be the biggest and most embarrassing fiasco that Auckland has ever witnessed, the latest (and hopefully final) design proposals for [QUEEN'S WHARF) have been revealed.  The "cloud" is a temporary structure that will accommodate 6 000 people during the Rugby World Cup 2011. The "cloud" will be a hub for our International guests, the media and locals where they will be entertained with live music and festive events. One of the sheds will be torn down and Shed 10 will be renovated. It is envisaged that after the RWC 2011, Queens's Wharf will blossom and become an International Cruise Liner Terminal. We can't wait to see this ugly duckling turn into a beautiful swan - a sophisticated gateway for downtown Auckland. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010


As reported on 22 October 2010, we went along for the open day and to watch a film or two at the newly refurbished [VICTORIA PICTURE PALACE]. We were disappointed that the exterior has been "sterilised" and is devoid of any colour. We loved the Art Deco sherbert colouring but alas it is all gone and is now a dull beige - sadly, Auckland's allergy towards colour continues unabated.

We loved the cinemas, the Venus statue was a pleasant surprise and the entertainment was top class. We are happy to report that many turned out to welcome the cinema back and to partake in all of Devonport's culinary delights, the shopping on offer and pleasant strolls along the promenade.  We look forward to hopping on a ferry from the city centre and heading into Devonport for a candlelit supper and finally a great art circuit movie.  

Friday, October 22, 2010


The [MOUNTAIN FOUNTAIN] once graced Aotea Square but has since found a new home in Parnell. The sculpture, created by Terry Stringer, was recently inaugurated in the grounds of The Holy Trinity Cathedral and we can not think of a better home for the sculpture which echoes the shapes and form of The Cathedral.


The oldest purpose-built cinema in the Southern Hemisphere - [THE VICTORIA PICTURE PALACE] - will be re-opened on the 23rd of October 2010. The theatre was constructed in 1912 by John Leon Benwell during the silent movie era. The exterior of the building has received a facelift and the interior has undergone major refurbishment. Three screens (180 seat Victoria Theatre, 116 seat Albert Theatre and 44 seat Benwell Theatre) are on offer which will feature a mix of art house and popular cinema. The grand re-opening will be celebrated with live performances, a documentary on the history of The Vic and the screening of a selection of New Zealand short films. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Winners of the [AUCKLAND ARCHITECTURAL AWARDS 2010] was recently announced by The New Zealand Institute of Architects - the winners are:

The Auckland Heliport "James Bond Heliport" by Maxcey Architects
The Deloitte Centre + Jean Batten Building by Warren & Mahoney Ltd | Woods Bagot | Dave Pearson Architects
8 Canada Street by Wingate + Farquhar
21 Queen Street by Peddle Thorp Aitken

The Birkenhead Library + Civic Centre by Archoffice
Newmarket Railway Station by Opus Architecture | Herriot + Melhuish
The Diocesan Aquatic Centre in Epsom by Upton Architects | Mclldowie Partners
Harbour View by Stephenson & Turner NZ
The Central Connector in Symonds Street by Brewer Davidson Ltd | Leo Jew Consultants Ltd | BECA
Beachcroft Bridge in Onehunga by Jasmax

City House in Herne Bay by Architex NZ
Glendowie House by Pete Bossley Architects
Karaka Bay House by Stevens Lawson Architects
Waiheke House by Sumich Chaplin Architects
Takapuna House by Godward Guthrie Architecture
Rock House by Patterson Associates Ltd
Waiheke Island Residence by Fearon Hay Architects

Waikehe House by Mitchell & Stout Architects
New Greys Avenue Synagogue + School by Peddle Thorp Aitken
The Pah Homestead by Matthews & Matthews Architects
The Waitangi Toilet Block in Paihia by HB Architecture
The Reynold's Studio in Ponsonby by Malcolm Walker Architects

Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum by Pete Bossley Architects
The Parakete Ora Plunket by Strachan Group Architects
Workshop in Ponsonby by Pohio Adams Pty
The Auckland Girls Grammar School by Architecture Brewer Davidson

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The Design and Lifestyle bible - Monocle Magazine, has nominated Auckland's [THE DEPARTMENT STORE] as THE hottest retail store on the planet. It comes as no surprise to us, we love browsing through all the amazing books, objects and clothing. Not only can you have your hair done, you can also have beauty treatments and relax with a great cup of coffee. London's TopShop has decided to join this palace of cool and will display their range on the third floor. 


The inaugural [ART IN THE DARK] took place on the 15th and 16th of October 2010 in Western Park, Ponsonby. Artists explored the ideas of community, environment and Utopia which transformed the park into a festival of light, art installations and projected short films. The entire event is eco-friendly and powered by clean energy. We especially loved the "Moo Chandelier" which was the creation of Hamish Stirrat, Callum Dowie and Jun Tsujimoto - empty and discarded milk bottles were given a second life with amazing displays of light and colour. 

The aim of the project is to make it an annual event and judging by what we saw, we think that that the event will get bigger and bigger each year. A job well done and we hope to return in 2011.

Friday, October 8, 2010


The Pah Homestead was built between 1877 and 1879 as Auckland businessman James Williamson's "gentleman's residence". Designed by architect Edward Mahoney using the popular Italianate style, it was the largest home in the Auckland province at the time. The Auckland City Council have subsequently restored the building and now houses the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre - an impressive collection of art works, a cafe with patio dining and gorgeous gardens to stroll through. We loved our morning there and will definitely return sooner rather than later.

Monday, October 4, 2010


We returned to [AOTEA SQUARE] after nightfall and this is when the square comes to life. The lighting is truly beautiful and we have been told that the LED lighting will change colour throughout the night. Definitely worth the trip to watch the the square transform as the sun sets and the light invades the space.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Today was the official opening of the refurbished [AOTEA SQUARE] and we went along to see how the heart of Auckland has evolved. We can report that the square lacks the imaginative design of Federation Square and the quaint sophistication of St Mark's Square - as can be predicted the design of the square is very "safe" and no bold initiatives have been taken at all. However, it must be stated that it is a huge improvement when you consider what was there before.

The highlight of the square is the new cafe and ticket box office. The design is contemporary and very tasteful. We also love the various materials used for the paving, the seating on the grass, the variation of levels on the staircases (which double up as seating areas) and the refreshed Gateway art feature. We look forward to the installation of the mega big screen which will beam images from afar for our viewing pleasure.

We don't like the distinct lack of colour, the out-dated graphics | signage, the lack of water features and the barren flower beds - flowers would be a welcome addition. It is possible that this will be remedied in time for the Rugby World Cup and we look forward to providing you with updates as the square evolves once more. All in all it was a good day out with lots of entertainment to suit everybody's taste.