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Stunning design finalist: Sheppard and Rout

A prominent site adjacent to the Memorial Avenue Gateway Bridge called for a memorable design, and the judges of the NZIA 2021 competition agreed that Sheppard and Rout exceeded that brief with its stunning FMG Office building project, selecting it as a finalist in the NZIA national competition.



The client required a building with a very strong relationship to its site – it needed to form a key component of the point of entry to Christchurch Airport.

“The extruded building form is derived from its relationship to the adjacent motorway and Memorial Ave corridor,” explains Associate Director Matt Gutsell.

“The folded façade and angled sunshade screen provide a sense of movement, and an effect of parallax as you transition from the off-ramp to slower pace of the airport precinct.”

The building’s ground floor is set back to allow the form to hover above the ground plane and the undulating landscape forms below.

“The building is part of a sequence of events and forms that relate to each other, evoke dynamism and movement, to enhance the experience of arrival,” says Matt.

The effect is striking, a clear and vibrant marker of Christchurch’s international gateway. You can phone Sheppard and Rout on (03) 366 1562.


Airport’s architectural appetiser: Sheppard and Rout Architects

The FMG office building sits adjacent to the Memorial Gateway Bridge and is prominently situated at the entrance to Christchurch Airport. It’s a building that immediately draws the eye with a sense of dynamic that makes that trip to and from the airport that much more visually rewarding, emphasising that you are approaching your destination.



The undulating façade and building form reference movement and transition from the motorway into the airport precinct, thereby creating a strong complementary structure to the Gateway overbridge.

For first-time visitors to our city, the FMG building could be described as an “architectural appetiser”, an introduction to what lies beyond Memorial Avenue – the new, bold and daring architecture that is rapidly becoming the signature of Ōtautahi Christchurch.

The designer behind the FMG building is Matt Gutsell, Associate Director of Sheppard and Rout Architects.

Matt’s interest in the use of natural materials and the tectonics of detailing modern buildings while incorporating passive environmental design is very much in evidence on the building.

The FMG office building comprises 1700sqm of high-quality office space, with on-site car parks, and a bike park and green space that’s shared with tenants from adjacent buildings, including ANZCO and PGG Wrightson.

It completes the development of the Agri-Export commercial precinct at Christchurch International Airport.


Bright idea for Dark Sky: Sheppard and Rout

In winning the brief to design the award-winning Dark Sky Project, Sheppard and Rout have once again excelled.



Director Jasper Van der Lingen, along with Jonathan Kennedy and Duncan Barron, led this important development which houses the newly restored 125-year-old Brashear Telescope, an astro-tourism facility, an observatory, experience area, a café/bar/restaurant, retail, a gathering space for visitors and tour groups, and administration spaces.

“The clear night skies above Takapō are iconic,” says Jasper.

“And this building contributes to the re-orientation of Takapō towards its setting and dramatic mountain backdrop, rather than the highway.”

The large central astronomy dome is the dominant focus from a distance, acting as a marker when arriving into Takapō from the south, heralding it as a centre for the large dark sky reserve of the greater Mackenzie region.

The result of a detailed process of consultation, discussion and negotiation with a number of parties including Ngāi Tahu and local rūnanga, the building is striking, wholly fit for purpose, and has cultural meanings intrinsic at all levels: from form and structure through to the experience area itself.

2020 NZIA Canterbury Awards Judges gave it a rapturous citation: a “bold and brave insertion into the traditional context of Takapō – an assertive dissent from vernacular orthodoxy – and the result is a successful convergence of horizontal and vertical elements: Rangi and Papa in harmony.”

And that the project reveals “a clever interweaving of Māori mythology and scientific discovery through its multi-layered spaces. The Brashear telescope adds a suggestion of steampunk, a quirky twist to the simple forms elsewhere.”


Architect’s own home entices: Sheppard and Rout

An architect’s owned-designed home becomes an expression of their beliefs and ideals, and this is especially true of the new home of Tim Dagg, Architect at Sheppard and Rout.



Tim and his family lived on site previously and, for Tim, the context of the site and orientation of the home are always key to the design.

This held true for his own build: the existing north-facing landscape with its mature native plantings, seated terrace and swimming pool have been retained.

With a school and railway line as neighbours, there is no danger of being built out, so Tim designed the entire north end of the house in glass to bring the gorgeous outlook inside.

Materials are low maintenance in natural and neutral hues.

The interior features polished concrete floors, a natural timber feature wall and a balustrade in natural mild steel. Black rubber covers the stair treads, with living room walls and ceiling lined with birch veneer.

Roof and exterior walls are clad in coloursteel, with some easy access areas in stretcher bond brick and in a light stained cedar.

“Our roofer was awarded Roofer of the Year at the Coloursteel Roofing Awards. The job required discussion between the foreman and me and the roofer, and his workmanship and expertise has produced an outstanding result.”

The glass wall is protected by a 1.5m roof overhang to reduce solar gain.

All downstairs doors and windows open fully, while skylights upstairs cross vent and naturally cool. “Energy efficient design is vital in a successful home,” Tim says.