Perfect base for inspiring design
With all the resources they need at their fingertips and without the big city issues, the team at Architecture van Brandenburg has found the perfect home to operate from, choosing to set up in Dunedin 10 years ago.
The pivotal project which saw Damien van Brandenburg abandon Auckland for Dunedin was Marisfrolg Headquarters in Shenzhen, China.
Now under construction, the 120,000sqm project is a series of interconnecting curvilinear structures comprising an atrium entrance linking to design studios, a fashion catwalk, a boutique hotel, restaurants, clubs, a spa centre, and flagship stores, all under an over-arching solarium.
‘We needed to set up and tool up for this project somewhere where we had all the facilities of a big city and all within access of a village,” Damien says. “Dunedin is a 10-minute town.
You can get anywhere you need, everything you need and enjoy the various aspects of the region – from a native forest to the sea to the rural countryside to the charm of the town centre – all within 10 minutes.
“We find it to be an inspiring region as well as allowing us to focus on our passion.”
The way Architecture van Brandenburg works is unique – the company designs through building rather than drawing.
“We mak e scale prototypes and use them to communicate with our clients and our contractors,” Damien says.
“From models they can understand how the full assembly is put together.
All the building information can be resolved on a smaller scale to reduce any issues arising when the building is 50 or 100 times larger.”
Architecture van Brandenburg treats buildings as 3D entities right from the start.
“It has been a case for our team of relearning and unlearning traditional methods.
We have a fantastic group of staff who are very open minded, and we’ve found this method spurs on a huge amount of creativity.”
For the Marisfrolg Headquarters project, things needed to be communicated to the clients in China who didn’t speak English.
“Having a 3D form is a communication tool for our clients and our subcontractors, and after that, they take on another life as a form that can be exhibited.”
Which is where Architecture van Brandenburg’s close proximity to Port Otago is invaluable.
Architecture van Brandenburg has used its 3D models in exhibitions in Venice in 2014, and San Francisco in 2015. The most recent exhibition has been held at Architecture van Brandenburg’s Lake Hayes studio, showcasing its CREST hotel project sited in Queenstown.
CREST is Architecture van Brandenburg’s response to the demand for accommodation in Queenstown.
The company owns the site off Frankton Road which descends down to Lake Wakatipu, and has designed a hotel taking inspiration from the lake, with cascading balconies like a series of waves rippling down the facade.
The 100 units are specifically oriented to capture the views on to the Remarkables Mountain Range and vistas down the lake to the mountains beyond.
Damien say that CREST is a product of the same Architecture van Brandenburg research and development being used on the Marisfrolg Headquarters, using curvilinear forms and local, natural materials to develop an iconic building in New Zealand.