Dunsandel Community Centre

106 Architects were engaged to undertake the preliminary concept development and deliver the new community facility on the Dunsandel Domain for a small, highly engaged rural community outside Christchurch.

Working with Global Leisure Group for the sport places planning, we developed a brief and concept to serve the needs of the Dunsandel community after the loss of their centre from the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. This building function and programme are driven by its unique position, as the meeting point of rural Canterbury, and the diverse functional needs that entail – agriculture and agriculture-business meet tourism, lifestyle, sports, culture and community activities.

The proposed facility, which is managed and operated in partnership with the local community, provides a social hub that enables the community to gather for educational, sporting, recreational, cultural and traditional community events.

The new community facility incorporates a multi-use hall and community space, flexible education and meeting rooms, toilet facilities, reception and administration office, flexible function and lounge areas, kitchen and bar facilities for up to 300 people capacity gatherings. A raised podium balcony provides areas for viewing over the Domain Reserve. The extensive and considered landscaping treatment facilitates for the colourful, local community activities.

The building is located on a North-South axis between the two existing sports fields, where we saw an opportunity to set it back from the street and carpark; to savour the view to the alps beyond, and also to bed it into the unique landscape. This setback also created an opportunity for a newly landscaped plaza area that could act as a fulcrum and connector of the existing sports centre and new community centre – to join community and sport via an outdoor social space.

To acknowledge the surrounding plains, flanked by the Southern Alps on the inland horizon, we choose to ground the building on a podium, creating a terraced platform that allows for slight spectator elevation to view sports field action.  By Introducing a familiar material on a large scale gives the building presence in the landscape, yet allows a closer intimacy and familiarity when people move towards it.

Inside, the external roofline becomes more dynamic – a nod to the vibrancy of the activity and community inside. The ceiling is sharper, more cutting, assisting the acoustic performance required of the hall space.

The reception can be used to address tourists’ questions, as well as serve as a vestibule or lobby for an event, or as a set-up area for a caterer. Meeting rooms can be expanded and can open to the main hall to act as a supper area or back of house (BOH) area for a school production.


  • NZIA Regional Award Finalist – 2019 NZIA Canterbury Awards
  • Sports and community case study example of how to bring a community together following devastating earthquakes
  • A purpose-built community centre in the middle of a sports ground.


Karekare Surf Club – Auckland

The journey for the Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club dates back to 2002 when the idea was seeded to build a clubhouse that would be more accessible to a broader range of users while respecting the environmental surrounds and required emergency services access.

Located on the edge of the Karekare Stream in the Waitakere Ranges, the Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club plays a pivotal role in the community spirit, enticing locals and visitors to enjoy the rugged coast of New Zealand.

106 Architects have been collaborating with surf club members and project managers MPM Projects since 2007. Based on the Hillery Priest Architecture initial concept, we are about to commence construction and deliver the project for the community.


  • Huge community funding drive to achieve the funds needed to commence the build.
  • Epic community journey and project commitment since 2002.
  • Iconic coastal and natural landmark for Aucklanders.
  • The design includes a multi-faceted de-facto centre for the entire local community to enjoy.
  • Restrictive construction methodologies employed to enable build.

Gone Mobile – Auckland

It’s January in the office and we are all sitting in the heat, solemnly staring out the window at those lovely blue skies trying to get back into ‘work mode’.

Rent review was approaching and the outdoors were calling.

We began to reflect upon our office environment – “how come we are stuck inside the office while the weather is like this!? Can we possibly take our work outside?” 

As a creative architecture and design studio, we approach these types of questions with a sense of innovation. We proposed to host an experiment – 106 went mobile!

In 2016, 106 Architects created a solution for those who wish to be outside during the summer months, instead of working inside the office.

Returning to work after the summer, we proposed to adopt and transform a retro caravan into a mobile working space.

The concept was to take the idea of the traditional ‘site shed’, and transform into a flexible and mobile office environment for four architects. Could we cope with going from a 95sq.m traditional office to a 15sq.m mobile caravan by the beach?

The aim was to explore the functional side of an office – how much space do we really need; is open-plan a distraction or could it facilitate closer collaboration; and what are the spatial planning, technological and cultural requirements for an office? How would the practical aspects of “gone mobile” impact our workflow and decisions?

Reducing our functional footprint to a multifunctional yet practical space was able to happen thanks to a shell of a retro caravan.  As our home-away-from-home, we not only gained the mobility and flexibility we needed, but it gave us the ability to park it on the site of one of our current projects – the Hyundai Marine Sports Centre, in Okahu Bay, Auckland.

To adapt the interiors of the caravan into an office, we stripped it down and implemented a ceiling installation of recycled paper and soft furnishings. As for our work tools, due to the reduced space, we kept only the essentials: computers, chairs, an office plant and a coffee station. The desks were made of cardboard, allowing them to fold and refold as needed.

The experiment was revealing – closer collaboration, greater sharing of ideas, clearer observations and interactions with those in and around our site. And illustrated to us that we can enact on an idea based on saying: Why Not!?

106 Architects | Gone Mobile from 106 Architects on Vimeo.

Learn to Ride Track – Avondale

106 Architects provided a professional design and project management service for Auckland Council’s Whau Local Board, as part of a long-term community development plan.

The vision was to re-activate an existing site and turn it into an “activity hub”. A “Learn to Ride” zone was the first stage for this community development. The idea was to provide multiple areas and zones for passive and formal learning activities.


  • Resene Colour Award Winner – Landscape category.
  • Unused sports surfaces were sustainably repurposed into active recreation play space.
  • An informal play area development was chosen as a more effective approach compared to restrictive traditional rectangular box field designs.
  • The use of colour and pattern weave character into the play spaces reflective of the local community stories and culture.

The Boroughs Basketball – Auckland

106 Architects | The Boroughs Basketball

“Street basketball is a sport ingrained in the culture of growing up in North America. For kids growing up in the city, it is a way of life. It is the bastion of everything that is great about impromptu, unstructured sport.” (Spark Project Overview).

106 Architects provided professional design services for The Boroughs community project – an initiative driven by Spark, with Auckland Council support. The Boroughs concept aims to build upon the outdoor basketball court infrastructure that is currently provided by Council for the people of Auckland.

The project involves investment for the refurbishment of existing courts and establishment of new courts in five “Borough” locations across Auckland. The action and rich legacy of outdoor hoops in the U.S. is being transported to New Zealand to create a culture of community involvement and ‘pick-up play’.

The concept was based around the question of: “How can we create a better multi-purpose community experience from our facilities”. The approach was to see what would happen when we merged and integrated the various zones that make up our play and non-play areas. We explored the use of typical play space (a basketball court) and considered it in a variety of operational modes (day-to-day, and event modes) to create a new model in which passive and organised activities – as well as specific events – can take place at a single facility.

The design outcome revolved around the mix of four separate zones (the ‘play’ zone and three ‘beyond play’ zones). All zones were considered social zones that could contribute to the social and community network.

The Boroughs urban basketball project allowed us to consider the standard components that make up a recreational and sports environment and present them in a way that creates a new precinct and enhances the social and community network.