Already a strong presence in New Zealand less than a year after opening their first office, Australian architectural firm DKO Architecture will open a second office in the centre of Christchurch, in the historic Bonnington House.
June 18th, 2015
Recently restored as a creative workspace by the KPI Rothschild Property Group after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes, Bonnington House is home to a number of creative businesses sharing DKO’s vision for Christchurch’s future – reconnecting and re-establishing the sense of place in Christchurch.
As debate continues in New Zealand’s second biggest city about the shape the refurbished cityscape should take – to restore its former character or develop a new one? – DKO is at the forefront of major new architectural commissions.
The opening of their new office coincided with the ground breaking for Awatea, a masterplanned community that includes 240 affordable homes west of Christchurch Central, a reflection of DKO’s commitment to the Christchurch rebuild, in partnership with Fletcher Living. Other joint projects include Colombo Street, a residential project designed as a village on the site of a former primary school. Colombo Street’s location brings a unique character to the site to include industrial laneways, a developing retail strip and the busy Brougham Street.
The site’s 74 dwellings will be constructed an ensemble of generous 1 and 2 bedroom apartments as well as 2 to 3-level terraces set to a publicly accessible and permeable central park. A number of retail spaces front the Colombo Street retail strip whilst flexible live/work spaces within the terraces have also been considered to encourage a thriving and diverse community – and a benchmark for affordable medium density housing close to the city’s centre. On the fringe of Christchurch Centre, DKO, Fetcher Living and Architectus have submitted The Welles Street Project for Resource Consent (pictured above).
Sitting on a former industrial site, the dynamic Welles Street project’s proposed architecture will resonate with this industrial heritage, consisting of five residential buildings, including a mix of apartments up to 5 levels high and 2 to 3-level “mews style” terraces, set to a publicly accessible central linear courtyard.
The project is accessed from Welles Street via a covered pedestrian laneway beneath an apartment building. At ground the laneway will house up to two café spaces that will contribute to the grit and developing street and café culture akin to the Christchurch rebuild.
DKO believe The Welles Street project will set a benchmark for dynamic high density living on Christchurch Central’s fringe.
DKO Principal, Koos de Keijzer is a New Zealander himself, born in Christchurch before studying in the Netherlands, graduating with a Masters Degree in Architecture and Urban Design. After moving to Australia, he established DKO Architecture in 2000.
Koos believes the unifying concept for DKO’s work in New Zealand is the ability to implement large-scale projects with finesse and sophistication, combining both big-picture thinking and architectural excellence. He says:
“DKO were are excited to be at the forefront of reshaping Christchurch’s future. We are excited to set up in city that is a buzz with creative and innovative minds whether it be the local food truck operator or an existing shop owner. All whom share the same vision – reconnecting and re-establishing the sense of place in Christchurch.”
DKO have offices in Melbourne and Sydney and class themselves as an Asian Pacific studio with major projects being designed and built throughout South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
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