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Our apartments featuring in The Press again!

15 Cashel St and 237 Hereford St were spotted by Press reporter Will Harvie and featured in The Press on November 28th 2015:

Great place to be: Five medium-sized buildings to debate

The Commodore across from the Cardboard Cathedral is a funky Art Deco replica.Do you like The Commodore's colours?

The Commodore across from the Cardboard Cathedral is a funky Art Deco replica. Do you like The Commodore’s colours?

These townhouses at 15 Cashel won an architectural award.

These townhouses at 15 Cashel won an architectural award.

WILL HARVIE finds five medium-sized buildings that stand out.

Folks have been celebrating — and criticising — the major rebuilds underway in Christchurch but there’s been plenty of smaller projects finishing within the Four Avenues that are worthy of debate too.  These smaller structures will define future Christchurch as much as the anchor projects, so we went looking for five medium-sized repairs and rebuilds that caught the eye. Most turned to be apartments or townhouses. What do you think?

The Commodore

Built in homage to an Art Deco building that once stood on the site across from the Cardboard Cathedral, The Commodore is a new building by well-known Christchurch landlord Liz Harris.

For a new building, it celebrates some of the 1920-30 Art Deco signature elements: softly rounded corners, repeated patterns, pastel colours and an NZ touch, cabbage trees instead of palm trees. As much as the original Deco was a complete break with the Christchurch villas of earlier previous decades, The Commodore represents a complete break with the Christchurch rebuild.

Peacock St and surrounds

There’s a pocket of rebuilds going into the Peacock St area — rough south of Bealey and north of the Casino between Durham and Montreal — that shout post-quake inner-city Christchurch. Once dominated by villas and worker’s cottages, the area is getting rebuilds that are bold contemporary structures with high garden walls and gates, small grounds and little grass.

Things are tightly packed, the sort of density that Christchurch planners want if urban sprawl is to be contained. Some may prefer the older cottages in this area, but if demolition was necessary, replacing with smart contemporary is a reasonable call. Discuss.

15 Cashel

Another Liz Harris building and this one won an award for Athfield Architects. They’re basically textured concrete, gable roofs and “clipped” eaves. Some might call the streetside unit a bunker, but Harris insists “everyone likes it”.

The Canterbury Architecture Award judges noted it was “skilfully arranged to complement and improve the character of the street”. Love it or hate it, at least you know what you’re getting at 15 Cashel.

Knox Church interior

For a time after the February 2011 quake, Knox Church at Bealey and Victoria was Christchurch’s Tintern Abbey — a beautiful ruin. It was eventually repaired but the new concrete and copper exterior could never really compete with the haunting hulk.

But oh, the interior’s been done well. The totara, matai, rimu and kauri lining the ceilings, walls and floors have been restored and the high arches still pull the eye towards the heavens. The organ was renewed, the acoustics improved and it’s become a venue for music lovers. Well worth a look inside.

Duncan’s Building

The last remnant of old High St, Duncan’s Building is a category 2 heritage place built about 1905. Individual units have separate owners and the tears spilled over restoring this modest building could fill an anchor project.

But little by little it’s coming right. Immediately north, the fire-ravaged Billens Building has been removed and the former McKenzie and Willis facade been saved. A new build for business tenants is going in behind. Some Duncan unit owners have forged ahead with repairs and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority is “currently considering options”  for the seven units it owns. If demolition is necessary, Cera may try to save the facade.

Tell us what you think of our picks, and suggest other medium-sized buildings that stand out.

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15 Cashel St – Winners of the Multi Unit design award

Award-winning Christchurch homes – in pictures

                            Warrander studio, a home overlooking Lyttelton Harbour (First Light Studio and Makers of Architecture).

                            Munro house, built in1968 received an enduring architecture award (Warren and Mahoney).

                            Louden house in Christchurch, a residential renovation and extension (Sheppard & Rout).

                            Villa Close in Christchurch won the residential award (Thom Craig Architects).

                            Multi-unit winner, Cashel St townhouses (Athfield Architects)     

Homes recognised in this week’s Canterbury Architecture Awards cover a range of sizes and budgets, but they have in common the sort of style many homeowners would covet.

The winning homes were among 25 residential, commercial and public buildings to receive awards at a ceremony in Christchurch on Thursday evening.

Gracious residence

The oldest award-winner was the historic Loudon homestead at Teddington on Banks Peninsula. Awarding it their residential alterations and additions award, the judges described the property as “an ensemble of buildings that form a gracious residence”.

“The original picturesque cottage has been meticulously refurbished and extended, while the farm house structure has been gutted to create a large library room lined with books that, despite its large volume, still manages to feel cosy . . ..”

Architects Sheppard & Rout designed the renovation.

Generous scale

A home known as Villa Close designed by Thom Craig Architects won the residential award. It was described as four gabled pavilions, positioned to create two outdoor courtyards.

“The modest exterior disguises a thoroughly sophisticated and generously scaled house,” judges said.

“The white-painted, cedar-clad forms have a spare simplicity which suggests a Scandinavian influence, but which also refers to Canterbury’s colonial and modernist residential heritage.”

“The result is a relaxed and comfortable house that is well planned and detailed.”

Warm and inviting

Warrander studio overlooking Lyttelton harbour was designed by First Light Studio and Makers of Architecture. This is in fact two Victoria University architecture students, their tutor, and their client.

The judges said the “compact, digitally designed building punches well above its weight.”

“Impressively, it took only three days for students and friends to erect the structure on site.”

“The interior is warm and inviting, a testament to the virtue of sufficiency.”

Skilfully arranged

A complex of townhouse in Cashel St in Christchurch, designed by Athfield Architects, won the multi-unit homes award.

Judges said that while some high-density complex were often “shoehorned onto a site with regrettable consequences”, these had been “skilfully arranged to complement and improve the character of the street.”

They praised the “simple gable forms”  belonging to “a longstanding architectural tradition of pitched roofs and clipped eaves in Canterbury”.

“This gives these buildings a sense of familiarity, but in this case the architectural language is especially imaginative and refreshing.” 

Beautifully proportioned

An enduring architecture award was also given out to a house built in 1968, and repaired and restored since the earthquakes. The hillside home, designed by Warren and Mahoney, was described as “beautifully proportioned”.

“The size, shape and arrangement of the three windows on the north elevation is close to perfect and the materials and detailing on the outside are absolutely consistent with Warren and Mahoney houses of this era,” said the judges.

They praised the architect, the late Nicholas Kennedy for his ” lightness of touch” in the design.

                     – Stuff

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15 Cashel St Winners at the Architecture Awards!

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The Christchurch rebuild has taken centre stage at this year’s Canterbury Architecture Awards.

Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens visitor centre, Hagley Oval pavilion, and Isaac Theatre Royal were among 25 buildings to win awards in a ceremony on Thursday evening.

Jury convenor Tim Nees said architects had produced excellent work in a frustrating rebuild environment.

“Architects in Christchurch have been challenged,” he said.

“To develop a design and see it through such altered circumstances and still produce a meaningful building takes skill, patience and perseverance”.

Christchurch-based firm Warren and Mahoney were the biggest winners, taking home six awards.

The judges described the firm’s “painstaking restoration” of the Isaac Theatre Royal as “respectful and skilful”, and ensured the “undeniably charming presence in the city will be enjoyed by generations to come”.

The gardens visitor centre received praise as a contemporary building which referenced traditional garden glasshouses.

The Hagley Oval pavilion, the judges said, showed “graceful handling of materials and details” which “gives the structure an expressive profile and luminous interior”.

The list of winners:

Commercial buildings

Three35,  Addington (Jasmax)

177 Victoria Street  (MAP)

Stranges and Glendenning Hill buildings, (Sheppard & Rout)

Young Hunter House (Sheppard & Rout)

Lyttelton Studio Retreat (Bull Osullivan Architecture)


Christchurch Eye Surgery Clinic (Wilson & Hill Architects)

Whareora, CPIT (Athfield Architects)

Kidsfirst, Diamond Harbour (Opus Architecture)

Te Kete Ika, Lincoln University, (Sheppard & Rout)

Munro House (1968) (Warren and Mahoney)

Knox Presbyterian Church Rebuild (Wilkie + Bruce Architects)

Merivale Retail (Thom Craig Architects)

Public buildings

Isaac Theatre Royal (Warren and Mahoney)

Hagley Oval Pavilion (Athfield Architects)

Christchurch Botanic Garden Visitors Centre (Patterson Associates)

Matariki, Canterbury University (Warren and Mahoney)

Secondary Data Centre, Canterbury University (Warren and Mahoney)

Ruataniwha Civic Centre, Kaiapoi (Warren and Mahoney)

Lincoln Library and Service Centre (Warren and Mahoney)

Twizel Public Toilets (DLA Architects)

Brooklands Lagoon Public Toilet (Opus Architecture)

Residential buildings

Villa Close (Thom Craig Architects)

Loudon Homestead (Sheppard & Rout)

Cashel Street Townhouses (Athfield Architects)       <———————————————

Warrander Studio, (First Light Studio, Makers of Architecture)

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Our next rebuild: 20 Hereford St

20 HEREFORD_ED VIEW 2_cropped

These six architecturally designed units are the next of our apartments to be rebuilt. These are in our favourite location on the botanical gardens doorstep, a stone’s throw from Re:Start Mall, the bus exchange and many restaurants, bars and activities.

All six units have one double bedroom. They feature open plan living, kitchen and private courtyards in the three downstairs units. The upstairs units each have a balcony.

Construction is planned to start later this year.

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Article on our property at 15 Cashel St Cowdy newsletter Winter 2014

Design celebration for residential rental development

Good design doesn’t need to cost the earth

An extremely narrow section in Cashel Street, Christchurch, provided a unique design challenge for Ian Athfield Architects.

Land lady Liz Harris gave the company the task of creating something special in residential living in a difficult space and the result is a outstanding design, Cowdy & Co Managing Director Andrew Cowdy says.

“It shows what can be done with a very narrow site, it’s inspirational and displays confidence to others,” he said.

Architect Nicholas Faith was one of a team at Ian Athfield that worked on the design for a property that was just 10 metres wide but 50 metres in length.

An old two-storey house, which had apparently been renovated for one-bedroom flats, had occupied the site.

One of the main challenges with the narrow section was the provision of parking. Normally this might have been placed on the street side but the architects positioned them between buildings.

The end result was four two-bedroom units which are almost identical, three in one block at the rear and one at the front. Such units are in strong demand, especially in this case as the units are close to the hospital, Nicholas said.

Construction was completed at the end of last year.

Nicholas says the firm has dealt with narrow sections in Wellington but not often in Christchurch. However the Cashel Street site is by no means the only narrow site being worked on – there are two sites in nearby Hereford Street, one of which will take 12 units..

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The Press Article 29/07/2014

Our lovely tenants have been giving us great reviews, on Monday this week The Press contacted us in reference to being a good landlord. We were thrilled to see we made the front page!!

See the article here:

Christchurch is becoming one of the most expensive places in New Zealand to be a tenant, with the average rent only $20 a week cheaper than in Auckland.

A just-released Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) report shows in greater Christchurch, including Selwyn and Waimakariri, the average weekly rent was $431 at the end of April – about 13 per cent up on the previous year.

Auckland’s average weekly rent was $451 – 4 per cent higher, the Housing and Construction Quarterly report says.

Christchurch rents are on track to reach Auckland levels by the end of the year, yet the average Auckland household earns about $220 a week more.

City missioner Michael Gorman said the report showed the market had “no sympathy for the poor”.

It highlighted the need for the Government to make an “enormous injection” of social housing in Christchurch, he said.

“It seems to me that a caring society ensures there is safe, affordable accommodation for its citizens.

“We are not doing that.”

Gorman said more people in Christchurch could no longer afford rents and were forced to live in cars, garages and sheds.

“Living in safe and healthy houses is just beyond the reach of ordinary people.”

Gorman said he did not know how people were going to sustain more increases.

Landlords have upped rent prices across the board in Canterbury due to a shortage of rental properties.

One bucking the trend is Jenna Harris.

She manages 155 tenancies for Christchurch Apartments, owned by her mother Liz Harris, as well as the 200 rooms at Wigram Lodge.

Jenna Harris refuses to charge a letting fee and never asks tenants to pay exorbitant rents.

“We think, ‘what could we afford if we were looking for a place, what would we pay for it?’.”

Jenna Harris said she usually set new tenancies at the median of the market value.

Rents for existing tenants were set at the low end of market rents.

“We make sure we are not in the mid to high range. We consider the tenants before we go around putting up rents,” she said.

Their two-bedroom apartments in the central city and Merivale are rented out at between $290 and $380 a week, fully furnished. The market rental in the central city was between $330 and $435, Harris said.

She said many tenants stayed with them long-term because they were looked after.

“We like people to be happy and have relationships with our tenants.

“We charge three to four weeks’ bond, which they get back at the end.”

One of the Harris’ tenants, Jo Saunders, who has lived in a one-bedroom apartment for almost four years, said she felt respected as a person and, in turn, respected the property.

“It’s not just about the rent, it’s about that things get fixed when you call them.”


People buying and building homes in Christchurch have not escaped rising costs.

House prices in Christchurch, Waimakariri and Selwyn feature in the top four fastest growing regions in New Zealand. They have all risen 8 per cent during the 12 months to April this year. Auckland still topped the list after increasing 14 per cent. The report showed the average house value in Christchurch was $451,794 at the end of April.

The average annual household income in Auckland for the year ended June 2013 was $95,138 and in Canterbury it was $83,588, Statistics New Zealand’s Household Economic Survey says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Housing and Construction Quarterly report shows the cost of building a standard house in Christchurch rose 11.3 per cent – to $1350 per square metre – in the year ended March 2014.

The increase is more than double the annual increases faced by Auckland (4.3 per cent) and Wellington (4.6 per cent).

But Cantabrians appear undeterred. The number of new homes being built in greater Christchurch has steadily increased. Some 542 residential dwellings received consent in greater Christchurch, including Selwyn and Waimakariri, in the March quarter.

– The Press

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324 Oxford Tce – 12 new apartments!

324 Oxford Tce Visual


We are getting pretty excited about finishing the design of thisriverside building to start construction next year. 3 x 2 bedroom apartments and 9 x 1 bedroom apartments. These are going to be an awesome spot to live when completed. Designed by Context architects.

Watch this space!

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31 Cashel St – Recent Refurbishment

We have 2 stunning apartments at 31 Cashel St which have just had their managed EQC repair done and we have combined this with a full internal make over.

New kitchens, new bathrooms, new carpet, new vinyl in the bathroom, new curtains, new paint etc.

Although almost new inside, the units have retained their beautiful character exterior and internal Rimu joinery in some area’s.

After 1.5 years under renovations, these units were snapped up in a week before completion!


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12 new apartments at 237 Hereford St!

We are rebuilding our 12 x one bedroom apartments which were unable to be repaired from the damage sustained on 22/2/11 Christchurch earthquake. The new building is to be rebuilt with the same footprint and floor area of the previous building and with a similar modern take on the art deco look of the previous building. For this building we are aiming to keep away from the trend of boxy black and white houses and buildings to keep some variation and colour in inner city Christchurch. The new building has been designed by Athfields Architects, and we have made many changes to make these apartments perfect for the modern tenant. With plenty of windows and sunlight, private courtyards or balconies, spacious open plan kitchens, tiled kitchens and bathrooms, double bedrooms with plenty of inbuilt wardrobe space, nice architectural features such as white oak stair railings and wooden feature slats on the walls and many more features.

This building is currently under construction and due to complete in November 2014.

Please email your interest in these apartments to:

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