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From K Road to Cannes

February 27, 2008

From K Road to Cannes

An Auckland architecture firm, RTA Studio, has been recognised in a prestigious architecture awards programme in Europe.

The award has been made for the firm’s design, Ironbank, which is currently under construction in Karangahape Road.

Ironbank is a seven storey development being built for Samson Corporation on a site running from K Road to Cross St on the edge of Auckland’s CBD.

The award will be given at a ceremony in Cannes in the South of France next month, during a conference that will be attended by 27,000 people.

Cross St


The MIPIM Architecture Review Future Project awards are given in nine categories. RTA Studio was commended in the ‘mixed use’ category and the project was acknowledged for being Ecologically Sustainably Designed (ESD). The building when complete will be submitted to the New Zealand Green Building Council for a targeted 5 Green star rating.



Ironbank has a range of sustainable features including ‘night purging’ where windows open automatically to regulate the building’s temperature and reduce the need for heating and air conditioning, solar water heating, the reuse of storm water, and mechanical car stacking.

RTA Studio partners, Richard Naish and Tim Melville are delighted with the win. They are especially pleased the recognition comes in the ‘mixed use’ category which is not a field New Zealand architecture is renowned for.

Tim Melville says New Zealand being a young country with predominantly greenfield sites is not well known for its ability in developing ‘mixed use’ projects in areas of urban renewal.


Mixed use developments where potential uses including residential, commercial and retail activities are combined in one complex are becoming increasingly important in New Zealand as cities work to check urban sprawl and enhance neighbourhood communities within existing urban areas.

“Richard and I have always been excited by the opportunities that exist within New Zealand’s city landscapes to develop new architecture that complements and draw inspiration from its surroundings and creates a sense of place.”

Richard Naish says when designing Ironbank, RTA Studio was acutely aware that Karangahape Road has a distinct character that is precious to Aucklanders.

“We wanted to ensure that our design recognised that and added something both in keeping with the flavour of K Road and at the same time offering something contemporary that would stand out and becomes a distinct location for people to come to.”

Richard says it also helps that their client, Samson Corporation, is interested in developments that will stand the test of time, and thinks in ‘generations not decades.’

Tim Melville and Richard Naish first developed their passion for bringing new architecture to established urban areas while working in London.

“It was fascinating to work in a city where a great urban heritage permeates everything. Architects there were so accustomed to working within the existing urban fabric, that when asked to design for a greenfield site they were quite confronted, entirely the opposite of our usual experience in New Zealand.”

A previous urban redevelopment completed by RTA Studio for Samson Corporation in West Lynn shops in Grey Lynn was recognised in the NZIA New Zealand Awards for Architecture in 2006.

At the time, media comment told of how RTA Studio was making a mark for it’s ‘in character’ urban conversions.


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