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Charlotte Hughes-Hallett, Masters of Interior Design student at the Victoria University of Wellington, is the recipient of the 2017 Warren and Mahoney MIA scholarship.

Furthering our commitment to supporting the next generation of Interior Designers, the scholarship has been established to recognise talented individuals and to offer the opportunity to build closer ties with our firm and with the wider interior design industry. Charlotte is currently on a summer internship within our Wellington studio and has received a $2,000 grant towards her study.

Can you tell us about your background?

I was born in Australia and moved to New Zealand when I was 3. At the age of six I moved to Tokyo, Japan where I spent 12 years. Although it was normal and commonplace at the time, in hindsight, architectural innovation was always around me. Geographically growing up in Japan was incredibly valuable and I was fortunate enough to foster my passion and travel to numerous developing countries to volunteer in local communities, and in one instance help build a school. I returned to New Zealand and moved to Wellington at the age of 18 to start my tertiary education at Victoria University’s School of Architecture.

What drew you to study interior architecture as a profession?

Prior to choosing architecture I was tossing up between medicine and architecture. I guess I have always been fascinated with the human body, and more specifically the relationship between the human body and its environment. The concern that interior architecture has for the human body was alluring. Interior architecture designs at a scale that accommodates and thrives off the intimate sensorial operations of the human body.

Where do you find your inspiration and motivation?

Knowing that intentioned architecture can relate to and enhance the wellbeing of individuals. For the most part, our everyday activities are conducted within or adjacent to architecture. Architecture impacts everyone. In such light it inspires me to curate architectural experiences that engage with its inhabitants and generate unique, meaningful, and relevant experiences.

What made you apply for the Warren and Mahoney MIA scholarship?

One of the biggest factors that drew me to Warren and Mahoney was their multi-market experience/opportunities and their innovation. I knew that if I was given the opportunity to intern at Warren and Mahoney it would offer multidisciplinary collaborations, and challenge and further develop my artistry, creative dexterity and practical knowledge.

What are you enjoying most about this experience?

There is just so much to learn from the day-to-day experience at Warren and Mahoney. I am really enjoying being given the opportunity to work on several projects and being able to dabble in the various design phases. The office environment too is dynamic and everyone is incredibly helpful and tolerant of my constant questioning.

What did you know about Warren and Mahoney? Has this knowledge been reinforced since joining the team?

Whether it be interior, building, or master planning/urban design, Warren and Mahoney strive for quality design and to curate creative and relevant experiences that embody their clients’ requirements. This has been reinforced since joining the team. This ethos is reverberated at every dimension.

What are your career and life ambitions?

In 2-3 years I want to enrol again in part-time studies and study migration patterns and economic developmentThe biological body to architecture has a long-entrenched history. It is a standard that is necessary and should be sustainable and equitable. However, in the wake of rapid population growth, it is not readily assessable to everyone. Architecture has the power and agency to generate resilient, inclusive communities. I see myself working with organisations in developing countries to work with communities to develop innovative building solutions and processes.

What has surprised you most about working in an architectural practice?

How readily accessible material samples are. If they aren’t in the material library already, you can reach out to suppliers and have a little package awaiting you the next day. It’s amazing! I am a little obsessed with materials, especially textiles.

What are you hoping to learn / take away from your time here?

I am a greenhorn in the field of architectural practice. I mean there’s so much involved in getting something built, I am still wrapping my head around everyone’s ability to keep on top of emails, computer drafting, client meetings, site visits, coordination meetings etc. So, from this experience I fundamentally want to gain a holistic understanding of how a firm works and establish positive connections.

What are your expectations of the industry and what do you think should change / improve or evolve?

Current analyses, materials and construction technologies are pushing architecture to new heights, both figuratively and literally. Integrated technologies are frequent in contemporary environments. As great as this evolution is I hope that our sensorial needs aren’t left unmet. In our digital world, design needs to connect with people. More than ever in this modern age, designers need to embrace what makes up human experience.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and what would your home look like?

At this moment, if I could live anywhere it would be Budapest, Hungary. Budapest is thriving, full of surprises and enthusiasm. I was there last October and fell in love with its diversity and design sphere. I would live in the historic downtown area just off the Danube river. My apartment would have basic bones. White walls, concrete floors, and exposed pipes. Adorned with a burgeoning art collection and layered rugs to add colour and life. Not to mention white orchids everywhere!

What advice would you give to someone starting their education in interior architecture?

Firstly, create freely. Be willing to take risks and deviate from the norm. And make sure you love it. Frustration is an everyday emotion when studying architecture but if you love it you’ll persevere. Like any career prospect you should see it as a lifestyle, not just a prospective occupation.

Secondly, I know at University you are living on budget, but I can’t undermine the benefits of travelling. Nothing compares to experiencing architecture in person and witnessing architecture from different cultures.

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To achieve Gold Award status in six very different categories is a testament to the strong relationships and commitment to smooth project delivery by all of the contractors involved.

Katherine Skipper

Eight projects in which Warren and Mahoney was a project partner have been recognised for excellence in commercial construction in the recent 2018 Master Builders Commercial Property Awards.

The Master Builders Commercial Property Awards, which includes ten categories, one Supreme and one Value Award, is the only programme that awards the work of a team in delivering a ‘mark of quality’. 

Principal Katherine Skipper says that Warren and Mahoney is proud to have worked with some great contractor teams to achieve excellence in a range of complex projects.

“To achieve Gold Award status in six very different categories is a testament to the strong relationships and commitment to smooth project delivery by all of the contractors involved. 

“Given the involved and often highly complex nature of a project’s supply chain, the relationships between the various project members are crucial to its success. So much of this work goes on behind the scenes which makes recognition of the team approach through these awards so important,” says Skipper.

Entrants have the opportunity to vie for Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards in each category, as well as National Category wins and a Supreme Award.

Warren and Mahoney was project partner for awards in the Commercial, Commercial Fitout, Heritage/Restoration, Tourism & Leisure, Retail and Residential categories, with the Wellington International Airport – Terminal South Extension being awarded both Gold and National Category Winner. 

2018 Master Builders Commercial Property Awards Judges comments:

Tourism and Leisure Gold Award for Wellington International Airport – Terminal South Extension

Judges comments:

This sensitive addition to a much-admired building was carried out in a complex series of phases to ensure the building was fully functional throughout the process. Creativity and detailed planning ensured both passengers and baggage handling could pass through the area of the works without compromising safety or security. The result is an addition so well integrated that it looks as though it was always intended as the completion of the southern end of the building.


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This wasn’t just a design project, it was a cultural transformation project.

Gary McDiarmid, Russell McVeagh CEO

Warren and Mahoney has been recognised for its leading workplace design with a second consecutive Good Design Award for Architectural Design: Interior Design for its re-imagining of the workspace of one of New Zealand’s oldest established law practices.

Russell McVeagh’s Auckland office occupies three and a half levels of Shortland Street’s Vero Centre, and in 2016 the firm teamed up with Warren and Mahoney to transition the space to an open-plan, agile environment to accommodate the new wave of lawyers entering the market.

The 2018 Good Design Awards jury commented on Warren and Mahoney’s award saying “The workspace is agile, and of a discerning design quality intent on attracting and retaining the brightest legal minds in New Zealand. The space is anchored by a bold, curated social hub underpinning wellbeing at the heart of the project.”

Project Principal Scott Compton says that the new workspace challenges the conventional approach to legal workplace design.

“This space is all about the aspiring lawyer. The world of law has moved on; status is foregone for a more democratic, open and agile
operation where Douglas Fir and open vistas replace mahogany desks and the ‘partner’ office,” says Compton.

The new workspace has no defined hierarchy, as all employees, legal or support, have access to light, 360-degree views of Auckland Harbour and City, and flexible workstations. 

Russell McVeagh CEO Gary McDiarmid says that the interior refurbishment of approximately 3000sqm has created a more modern, dynamic workplace with greater connectivity, both physically and digitally.

“This wasn’t just a design project, it was a cultural transformation project, taking the firm from a cellular office environment to a fully open plan environment. The perception of a rigid, old school law firm is now shattered – we are now open, collaborative, flexible and mobile,” says McDiarmid.

A key design element of the new space is a large central hub and common area, complete with an open atrium, sculptural stair, and high

The project’s design language of curved built form helps create a sense of seamless transition from space to space, and a restrained material palette enhances natural light and creates a high-quality, timeless feel.

“A bright, light palette in the workspace provides a spaciousness with small villages of open plan teams adjacent to fluid, soft forms which create their home base environment,” says Compton.

In 2017 Warren and Mahoney was awarded the “Best in Category for Architectural Design: Interior Design” at the Good Design Awards for
its refurbishment of the Auckland TVNZ Television Network Centre.

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With the key pieces of the Christchurch Blueprint now in place, the opportunity for our Christchurch studio is to continue to bring the skills we have developed through the rebuild to bear on future work in the city and regional centres.

Jonathan Coote

Warren and Mahoney has announced changes to the leadership of its Christchurch studio with the appointment of Jonathan Coote as Studio Principal. 

This change follows the announcement that Graeme Finlay, the current Christchurch studio Principal, will take over as Chairman of Warren and Mahoney Limited. 

“As we look beyond the rebuild to the next era, we are delighted to have Jono leading our established Christchurch Principal team,” says John Coop, Managing Director of Warren and Mahoney.

“Jono’s creative energy, combined with his practical experience in the design and delivery of major projects, puts him in a good position to lead our Christchurch Studio,” says Coop.

Jonathan Coote was brought up and educated in Christchurch, and after working on large-scale and boutique projects in the UK and Caribbean, joined Warren and Mahoney’s Christchurch studio in 2010. 

Since joining Warren and Mahoney, Jonathan has become a key member of the design team and has been involved in a wide range of architectural and interior projects of varying scales. 

Most recently, Jonathan has played an integral role in significant projects in Christchurch such as Lincoln University’s Ag Research Joint Facility, the PwC Centre, the recently announced masterplan scheme for Rolleston Town Centre, as well as Warren and Mahoney’s own studio in Christchurch.

Jonthan Coote says that he looks forward to the challenge of leading the Christchurch studio in post-earthquake environment. 

“I joined Warren and Mahoney at a time of significant change and growth. With the key pieces of the Christchurch Blueprint now in place, the opportunity for this studio is to continue to bring the skills we have developed through the rebuild to bear on future work in the city and regional centres that are in a growth phase,” says Coote.


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For visitors flying into Christchurch, the braided patterns of the Waimakariri River are a distinctive feature that signifies not only the beauty of our landscape but also the history and future of this city.

Richard Hanson

After a successful collaboration on the Transitional (Cardboard) Cathedral in Christchurch, innovative Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has again partnered with Warren and Mahoney on a commercial building in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square.

Inspired by the braided rivers of Canterbury, developer Richard Hanson says the building will be an iconic landmark anchoring the Southern corner of Cathedral Square and providing a visual prompt for oral tours of the city’s geology.

“For visitors flying into Christchurch, the braided patterns of the Waimakariri River are a distinctive feature that signifies not only the beauty of our landscape but also the history and future of this city.

“Christchurch has lost so many special buildings, so it is important that new buildings are of high quality and have a strong narrative. This is particularly important for Cathedral Square as it is still a strong tourism destination in the city,” says Hanson.

The building was commissioned by property owner Redson Corporation Holdings Limited for its tourism business Aotea Gifts. In addition to a flagship store for Aotea Gifts, Braided Rivers will also house a restaurant, courtyard-style café and other retail tenancies.

Shigeru Ban, a Pritzker Prize winning architect, has established himself as the master of unconventional materials. Braided Rivers utilises a glued laminated timber, or glulam, which is created by bonding layers of lumber together with high-grade adhesives.

The result is an engineered wood product that is stronger, lighter, cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than steel. To create the 41 ‘braided river’ columns in the building, a NZ pine glulam will be curved together to create the twisted column effect.

The interiors will be reflective of Ban’s signature style, with clean lines, warm materials and an abundance of natural light, aided by the building’s 10-metre high stud.

Warren and Mahoney, who approached Shigeru Ban on behalf of Aotea Gifts, will take SBA’s well-developed concept through to detailed design and ensure all of SBA’s design intent is met and delivered.

“As with the Transitional Cathedral, we have protocols in place to ensure Ban’s design is kept intact throughout the Resource Consent and Building Consent processes.

“Our deep understanding of the materials, NZ Codes and Standards and seismic requirements means that we can have the detailed conversations about construction methodology with the contractors, and loop through to the SBA team as required,” says Warren and Mahoney Principal Peter Marshall.

Resource Consent applications were lodged this week, and it is anticipated that construction will start in October 2018, with completion scheduled for late 2019.