Busy practice helping to shape region – Arcline Architecture
“I think another point of difference for us is that we have had a building background, which sits behind our design thinking. We know what does and doesn’t work practically.”
Kaitaia architectural practice Arcline Architecture has had an interesting journey, beginning first when Alan Simpkin left school and went building, eventually establishing his own company focusing on design and build.
That activity grew substantially over ensuing years until in 2003 he switched to concentrating just on design, pursuing what he loved most and surrounding himself with draftsmen, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and town planners.
Arcline Architecture still has a strong family focus, with son’s Trent and Tristan taking on project management and company management roles.
Trent, who joined the business in 2017, says the company takes on a wide array of projects, something the whole team enjoys.
“We are so busy at the moment and we need more people. The building industry has just gone crazy since August and currently we have about eight contract draftspeople and we are literally filling their time up solely on our work.”
The company’s main office is situated in Kaitaia, however other practices have opened in Kerikeri and Whangarei. About 20% of business is from projects based in and around Kerikeri.
Aucklanders wanting to get out of the city and move north, as well Kiwi’s returning from overseas, are fuelling demand for their services.
Trent says that finding the right fit, in terms of the team, is essential and he and others in senior management have evolved a ‘sixth-sense’ about someone presenting as a possible employee.
“People think it is about the intellectual side and the qualifications which are important of course but it is more about personality and attitude and a willingness to understand the standards we adhere to professionally.”
Asked about the impact Covid-19 has had, particularly coming out of lock-down, Trent says it has come as a surprise just how much activity there is.
Arcline Architecture fully rebranded early last year and Trent says that has really opened the doors to greater demand for their services.
“I think another point of difference for us is that we have had a building background, which sits behind our design thinking.
“We know what does and doesn’t work practically.”
The design process begins with the client providing them with a brief, often a whole bunch of photos of aspects of design and architecture that they feel drawn towards.
A site visit then follows. “We then get a sense of potential. Where are the views?
“You can feel the wind and the sun and especially the client starts to talk about the site and what’s important for them. Then we can start to place rooms.”
Then, what Trent describes as a very ‘sketchy’ sketch is formulated on paper.
“We deliberately leave it that way, so there’s a sense of spaces being highly adjustable.”
While all the computer aided technologies used these days that go into designing are important, Trent says this preliminary sketch stage is really vital.
“It’s an exciting phase because the shapes and sizes of space can be easily changed.”
Usually, the process from site inspection to when the digger first arrives on site is about six months, depending on how quickly the clients can make decisions.
In recent years, Kerikeri has surged forward as a preferred retirement location, with close proximity to the Bay of Islands and not too distant by car or plane to Auckland.
After the successful design and completion of the Metlifecare Village in Kerikeri, Arcline Architecture has now been involved completing concept drawings and taking them through to full working drawings and consenting documents for the new Arvida retirement village.
The villas have been designed to suit a wide range of retiree lifestyles, with multi bedroom and bathroom villas available.
Each villa has a modest kitchen, dining and living spaces complete with a fireplace and generous single garage.
When completed the facility will be home to 200 L-shaped villas with gable roofs and constructed with a mix of stone, brick and vertical grooved cladding.
Along with villas the village will include a club-house and landscaped spaces and special areas for workshops where residents can pursue individual and group activities.
“We enjoy the variety of projects we get involved in.
“No two days are the same and we just love working in this special part of the country.”