Devore Explore – St Heliers Bay

This alteration project explored what can be achieved by starting with a single-storey, semi-detached, two-bedroom, brick-and-tile unit dating from the 1960s, and adapting it into a modern, comfortable and sustainable residential abode!

The site of this unit lies in a densely-populated area, set two blocks back from the harbour in the beachside suburb of St Helier’s. Our engaged clients, landscape creators Babylon Gardens, worked in collaboration with 106 Architects to create a city retreat.

In response, an upper-level was added to give much-needed floorspace, plus access to the stunning views of Rangitoto Island and the Waitemata Harbour. To deal with the tight site and urban context, protective ‘view shafts’ were created that frame individual views. The exterior of the new upper level extension is ‘wrapped’ with vertical black weatherboards to accentuate the building’s newfound verticality.

Inside the new structure, an internal void was created over the living room on the west side of the house, and glazed operable windows added. On the east side, there’s an open-plan play area and study space overlooking the double-height living spaces. This allows natural light and ventilation to circulate through the house.

The second living zone occupies the former carport, sacrificed for morning sun. Covered in and with built-in seating, it steps down from the kitchen. Further spatial manoeuvres happen in the kitchen, where the ceiling drops to an intimate scale. Lined in dark, rough-sawn timber, it’s a galley format with cooking and cabinetry on one side and more storage on the other.

The open stairs that lead up to the bedrooms double as a place to watch the cook at work. Continuing the multi-use theme, the mezzanine landing becomes a wide corridor with enough room for a built-in desk that overlooks the main lounge.


  • The installed 5kw solar power system feeds electricity back into the grid. As such, the annual household electricity bill was only $58.00 in the first year – and that was after annual line charges.
  • A fantastic example of an alteration and addition project illustrating what can be achieved from a collaboration between landscaper and an architect.
  • Inner city make-over to suit current living style needs.

House 34 – Melbourne

Perched on a hill overlooking the Maribyrnong River in a small pocket of Essendon, Victoria, this existing 1960s single-standing detached dwelling was looking for a new facelift. The vision was to celebrate the act of “approach” and open the entry. In a way, draw the outside further in.

References to the modern hay-day era have thickened the concept – a nod to the mid-century development timing of the suburb’s birth. While other neighbourly properties have demolished and built modern square-stacked boxes or pseudo-Italian villas, these clients wanted to celebrate their modest footprint and enjoy the site space for landscape.

In drawing guests inward, a hardwood timber screen wraps the right-hand pavilion, and seamlessly transitions through the main door into the hallway. A secret door through the warm timber wall presets the master bedroom and ensuite. A quiet and safe place as a sleeping and meditative space.

On the left-hand side, the garage is expanded. A wine cellar adds drama to the dining room.

Together the spatial rearrangements recreate inner spaces, fit for guests and the family alike.



  • bespoke inner bathroom and ensuite
  • entrance treatment using existing dwelling structure and form

Totara Hill – Taranaki

Totara Hill sustained a three-year, design-then-build process involving the entire family, and is a house that is built of family stories. Grounding the site and design conditions are generational memories, robust family process, a wonderful design; and now a collaborative build journey.

The single-level house is built on the location of an old shed on a family farm – Totara Mahunga – at the eastern edge of the ring plains of Mt Taranaki. Perched on a hill, surveying the farm valleys below, its design is not only about the approach and the view, but also the physical impact the building form has on the landscape. In response, a key decision was to have a low-slung building that has allowed for long overhanging eaves and a gentle roof pitch, not soaring; more like a drape, providing protection – the reverse of the traditional farmhouse form.

Built in two stages, the forms are joined by a spine that acts in a number of ways; as a connecting corridor, a gallery, a light funnel, and a mechanism for natural ventilation and cooling of spaces. It also organises storage and signals the entry point to the public spaces (living, dining, kitchen) and creates a spatial divide to the home’s private areas – bedrooms, bathrooms.

The black-stained, dressed-faced cedar cladding is a reference to the Kiwi Bach of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Its form is a reference to the small Group Architects Houses of Auckland – and in turn, the ideology of the Case Study Houses of Los Angeles – that plays on the idea of the normality of suburban homebuilding, and negative and positive spaces that define the public and private areas of the house. Here though, there are no neighbours or suburbia, just a soft and plentiful green landscape.

The internal linings are of durable and sustainable radiata pine plywood. An exposed concrete floor provides for solar massing, and the high- and low-level windows provide for passive ventilation, lots of natural lighting, and the integration of sustainable design principles.


  • Historic family farm and site location for house.
  • Rural residential house – new dwelling.
  • Environmentally sensitive design initiatives

Alison Ave – Wanaka

Twenty Alison Avenue – Albert Town – is an existing mixed-use zoned site in Albert Town,  situated within a vibrant, growing community 10km outside Wanaka in the heart of New Zealand’s picturesque South Island.

106 Architects were engaged to undertake early bulk and location masterplan options for the client to assess project feasibility, and determine the development options to support the existing commercial building on-site.

This multi-residential and commercial project has realised 40 residential and visitor accommodation units, together with a 20-unit motel development that surrounds a refurbished commercial mixed-use hub. Located on the trail cycleway, this social hub will be frequented by locals and tourists alike.

The project aspires to fold into the landscape – referencing the Southern Alps and stunning views – through asymmetrical rooflines, selection of natural materials and landscape treatment. The scale of the development has been broken down to enable sightlines and views-through, with circulation supporting sitewide movement to join tourist trails and main arterial routes.

Exterior cladding is a relaxed simple palette, including textured render, cedar timber cladding and sustainable hardwood battens. Interiors are reflective of the exterior, as a way to bring the outside inside.


  • This project was designed to contribute to the growth of Wanaka, Queenstown and surrounding areas.
  • A mixed-use development – commercial tavern, café, mini-mart, patisserie, retail; residential development apartments; visitor accommodation short-stay units/motel units
  • Design taking cues from the picturesque surrounding landscape.

Freeman’s Bay Townhouse – Auckland

A renovation project of the kitchen and bathroom of a late ‘60s townhouse was undertaken. The vision was to create an ‘urban oasis’ in the middle of Auckland for a professional couple.

Our approach to the kitchen was inspired by a working restaurant or café-style kitchen. The application of sleek blackened metal and stainless steel was made to provide both contrast and balance to the soft natural timbers and marble bench tops.

The bathroom concept was to create a space that felt light and composed, while still maintaining an element of sharpness and edge, connecting this room to the rest of the house. Pattern and texture were essential. Natural materials of marble and timber provide a gentle movement highlighting the essence of calm in a 70’s sauna-style.


  • Bespoke bathroom and kitchen renovation plus interior styling.

Bannerman – Auckland

Manifesting the ‘backbone’ of the family home was the inspiration behind this Western Springs villa alteration.

106 Architects were engaged by the client to rejuvenate the growing family home whilst offering a more child-friendly, social and open layout, providing spaces to call home.

The Phase One concept centred on shifting the staircase, laundry and circulation into the centre of the house – taking these service areas and creating ‘the backbone’ that doubles as a light-filled gallery space.

To accentuate this new feature, and contrast the historic white character of the villa, timber was introduced; giving the space a touch of warmth. Above the stair, a new skylight brings natural light into the heart of the home.

The living area originally split into a series of formal entertaining rooms is opened up containing lounge, galley kitchen and dining area. The alternation also including modernising the bathrooms and lower ground floor as a future play area and guest bedroom.

Phase Two has commenced in 2020.

Smith Street Villa – Auckland

106 Architects were asked to undertake design work for the initial stage of a villa alteration project in Freeman’s Bay.

Phase One of a long-term masterplan was a new ensuite and wardrobe, and refurbishment of the existing bathroom.  The design was implemented to provide a new taste of contemporary that would contrast – and respect – the classic New Zealand villa.

The ensuite interior provokes a ‘new world’ feel, with an evocative moody, raw elegance, and a touch of sophistication and luxury.  Natural light is key to enable a personal retreat for the ritual of bathing.

Western Park is close by, so with the use of mirrors, the project was able to ‘steal’ a hint of a larger landscape area beyond and retain a level of privacy.

The material palette of marble, shades of white and black provide depth, balance and neutrality to a space, allowing details and hues to be celebrated. We love the use of gold in this project to provide that special experience and surprise.