Urban environments

Our latest issue features a number of different views on how to live in urban environments. High land prices and the understandable desire to live close to work and minimise commuting means architects are having to be increasingly ingenious about how to create liveable space on challenging, compact sites. This brought to mind another pair of city houses we featured as finalists in last year's Home of the Year award, the Whare Mahanga/Twin Houses by Scarlet Architects, photographed by Patrick Reynolds.

The houses are the white buildings at the centre of this picture. They're owned by architects Jane Aimer (whose family lives in the left-hand side of the pair) and Lindley Naismith (who lives with her partner John Balasoglou in the right-hand house). The houses are actually part of a small community: Lindley's parents live in the red cottage with white verandah, which Lindley renovated a few years ago, and the new homes were designed to encourage interactions between the occupants. This shot shows the back yard of Jane's home, with the white slider open to Lindley's back yard.

In many ways, the homes are like modern, elevated versions of terrace houses, with the staircases forming ingenious light wells in the centre. The rooms are located at alternating half-levels on the way up the stairs.

New York's street revolution

There's a really interesting article on New York magazine's website about the city's transport commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, and how her quiet, budget-conscious introduction of cycle lanes and pedestrianised streets might add up to a dramatic transformation of the city.


New Zealand city planners should take note: New York has learned that more roads simply mean more vehicles, and that the best cities are the ones that are kindest to pedestrians.

The big donation

Thanks to everyone who turned up to the Architectural Open Homes day run by the Auckland Architecture Association last Sunday. We couldn't get an exact count of how many hundreds attended, but over $10,000 was raised for the Auckland City Mission. Now that's what we call architecture doing good. Another day is planned for Auckland in August - check in with us for details on this site and in the August/September issue of the magazine.

Architectural Open Homes

Those of you who are in Auckland this weekend might want to check out an event being run by the Auckland Architecture Association on Sunday June 7 - a series of architectural open homes in Freemans Bay.

Seven homes by excellent architects are opening their doors between 10am and 2pm. Tickets cost $20. To register, email Kristen George at kristen@designselection.co.nz or call 021 388 374. Once you've registered, you can turn up to any of the homes on the day, buy a ticket, and wander at your leisure to the other open homes in the area. All proceeds go to the Auckland City Mission.

The homes include this one by Daniel Marshall Architects, photographed by Simon Devitt:

These charming townhouses by Claude Megson, photographed by Patrick Reynolds:

And a home we featured in a previous issue by Belinda George, photographed by Becky Nunes:

The other homes taking part in the open home day are by Gerrad Hall, Patterson Associates, Russell Withers, and Cook, Sargisson and Pirie. It's a rare chance to see inside these places for yourselves, so do register and come along if you have the time.

Moooi at Milan

A small clarification from our latest issue: The 'Blow Away' vase we featured in our Milan coverage was by front for Moooi, not Nika Zupanc as we inadvertently implied.

Nika Zupanc designed the 'Lolita' light:

Mokum blogs HOME

A little shout-out to our friends at Mokum Textiles, the Sydney design studio with big New Zealand connections. They've made mention of HOME, and NZ design in general, on their blog.

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