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Bringing the ‘extraordinary’ to design

Bringing the ‘extraordinary’ to design
Modern sculptural forms: another stunning design from Architecture Public.

Eqo Leung’s buildings are all different yet they have a distinctive thread running through them – they all tend to prompt an emotional response from those who encounter them.

It was this realisation that he had an instinctive spiritual approach to design that touched people’s emotions that led Eqo to start his own NZIA practice several years ago.

His design ethos is ‘simple but not ordinary’ no matter whether it is residential, commercial, interiors or public services architecture. “The architecture that I produce always has an extraordinary quality to it – an intangible quality that touches on people’s emotions and spirit.

“There is no bias over function and form – they are both important,” he says.

Before starting Architecture Public, Eqo had spent most of his professional career designing public buildings – from interior office fit-outs to large scale university projects – for Opus Architecture as a partner and lead architect in special projects.

More recently it is designing residential buildings for private clients that has become a passion as he says he is a firm believer that architecture is always about people, hence his choice of company name.

“Understanding the client is a key part of how I ensure the design is connected with emotion and feeling. It’s an intangible thing and it’s why I spend a lot of time with clients so I can really understand them before I put a design on paper.”

A good example is a house recently completed in Remuera on an incredibly challenging site – tight, with a 2.5 metre drop and an unusual shape. In fact it was the restrictions that the site imposed in terms of height to boundary, recession planes and building height that ended up proving inspirational.

“So from constraint it became a design driver which is why I found this project so exciting,” he says. “When you stand outside the building it draws you in with its modern sculptural forms.”

Eqo is no stranger to accolades for his work and just last year a project he worked on while at Opus Architecture won a heap of honours.

The University of Waikato Law and Management Building project won the NZIA New Zealand Architecture Award (Education) 2017, NZIA New Zealand Architecture Award – Waikato/Bay of Plenty (Education) 2017, Silver Medal at the DINZ Best Design Awards (Spatial) 2017 and won the New Zealand Concrete Society Monte Craven Architectural Building Award 2017.

Bringing the ‘extraordinary’ to design

“It was a 6000sqm $27million project, and the design was about incorporating the synergy between modern learning environment and the concept of ‘Ako’- the traditional Maori education approach,” explains Eqo.

It’s no surprise then the Eqo has been in demand not just in New Zealand but also now internationally.

He is presently negotiating with a client in New York interested in Eqo completing the concept design for his house after seeing Eqo’s design for a never built modern barn-style house on Instagram.

Eqo is also completing a show room in Hong Kong for German flooring company Schotten & Hansen, which he describes as an art gallery style of architecture to showcase the upmarket products. He says these projects fit in well with his desire to be mobile and work internationally.

“Architecture is like having a baby. You give it to the client and let go. To see clients walk into the finished project, sometimes in tears, that’s the most rewarding thing.”

This article was brought to you in association with the following New Zealand businesses… Greenroom Projects