Given London property prices, many have left this city for another country (Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels… ). Tourism NZ’s advertising cry of the 1980s was: “don’t leave home until you have seen the country”. In 2017 the real estate picture has changed so dramatically that this now means, for many NZ ex-pats, you can no longer afford to call that country your home. According to NewsHub:(File) “It’s official – New Zealand has the most unaffordable housing in the world, according to The Economist.  
“Across five different measures, New Zealand has come out on top of three of the five measures for the most expensive global housing market. New Zealand has had the highest rise in house prices, costs the most against the average person’s income and now has the biggest difference between house prices and renting prices. In the latest edition of The Economist, figures show that in the past 46 years New Zealand’s house prices have risen by more than 8 percent on average a year. It’s a trend repeated among other first world countries, including the United Kingdom, which had a 7.65 percent average rise annually over the same timeframe, and Australia, where house prices rose more than 6.4 percent a year on average. According to The Economist, those numbers have remained solid in the past seven years with New Zealand’s numbers showing a 7.9 percent consistent increase per year since 2009. The Economist puts this trend down to “a growing horde of rich foreigners” coming to New Zealand because they see it as a “safe haven”. “In 2016 overseas investors bought just 3 percent of all properties. But their purchases were concentrated at the expensive end of the market, which is growing fast: sales involving homes worth more than NZ$1m increased by 21 percent.” The findings don’t get any better for New Zealanders, showing that in the last 10 years, the average price against a person’s income has risen dramatically. The numbers are backed up by the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey released in January showing Auckland is ranked the forth least-affordable housing market in the world. The average house price in Auckland is now more than £500K.”

048per_Villameter: Home of the Year 2016!

A house is an object, typically a residential building. The idea of the house as an object of desire has arisen through visual qualities relating to shelter, form, scale and materiality. A home is ‘for living in’ and refers to both a building space and to a locational place. As a space a home is, first and foremost, social; as a place it is our identity. These non-visual qualities relating to use and occupancy mean the home creates, after family, our founding sense of place. The Villameter as a home lays bear the frugal modernity of its occupants. This is not the house as showroom but the house decluttered… The Villameter lost to it’s polar opposite: the Iron Maiden is (partially) made from recycled corrugated iron and located in a rural setting.

048per_Villameter wins National Award for Windows

Ironically there was no window evident in this photograph submitted by our glazing contractor Fairview to the Window Association of NZ…4WHAT architecture LTD.


The Villameter! won an NZIA Award and a Resene Colour Award in Auckland… which is paradoxical given that black is techically the absence of all colour!?:) Anyhow the entire team from client to suppliers will take the gong and just paint the town red sorry black, white, blue… So thanks to the clients Michael Pervan, Amy Oding and Benjamin; our local partners Peter Townsend and Eryn Wason of Townsend Architects; a myriad suppliers and finally the WHAT_architecture practice team of: Marc Iglesias, Simon Rosa Perez, Karsh Singh, Adrian Wong, Seung Jong Park, Eiichi Matsuda and Magda… let us know if we forgot anyone! All Black logo_erezNZIA


The Villameter has been designed and built to the millimetre!  




www.blablablarchitecture.comoma column


The ‘Raft of Medusa’ (1818-1819) is a large oil painting by the French Romantic painter Théodore Géricault. The size of the painting (4.91m x 7.16m) is such that, (from Joanna Banham’s Shipwreck) “that most of the figures rendered are life-sized and those in the foreground almost twice life-size, pushed close to the picture plane and crowding onto the viewer, who is drawn into the physical action as a participant”. Sometimes in everyday life we experience an ‘epiphany of the everyday’ whereby commonplace activities, such as putting up a wardrobe, have a transcendent aesthetic resonance.The Raft of Medusa www.whatarchitecture.com


It is… possible to conceive of a science which studies the role of signs as part of social life. It would form part of social psychology, and hence of general psychology. We shall call it semiology (from the Greek semeîon, ‘sign’). It would investigate the nature of signs and the laws governing them. Since it does not yet exist, one cannot say for certain that it will exist. But it has a right to exist, a place ready for it in advance. Linguistics is only one branch of this general science. The laws which semiology will discover will be laws applicable in linguistics, and linguistics will thus be assigned to a clearly defined place in the field of human knowledge. —Cited in Chandler’s “Semiotics for Beginners”, Introduction.The Name Game” is an American pop song written and performed by Shirley Ellis as a rhyming game that creates variations on a person’s name. Ellis told Melody Maker magazine that the song was based on a game she played as a child. The Name Game could also be applied to buildings. Architecture & Design looked at buildings which have had a moniker assigned to them. In 1st place is a building from… NZ! “The Beehive is the common name for the Executive Wing of New Zealand’s parliament buildings. The original concept was designed by Scottish architect Basil Spence in 1964. It got its name due to looking like a beehive.” Duh! Building nicknames are always visual associations. In 2nd place is “The Gherkin or 30 St Mary Axe in London was previously known as the Swiss Re Building. It was designed by Norman Foster and Arup, and was completed in 2003. It got its name due to its highly unorthodox… (da-rah) appearance.” In 5th place is “The Shard: This 87-storey skyscraper is known as The Shard, but also the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower. It is currently the tallest building in the European Union and was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Piano’s design was met with criticism from English Heritage, which claimed the building would be “a shard of glass through the heart of historic London”, thus its name was born. It helps it also looks like a shard of glass.” Interestingly enough, NZ has some heritage in nicknames and thus has tiny URLs embedded in its national psyche. Recent commentary during the World Cup Cricket has made colloquial reference to Wellington’s Regional Stadium: “The highlight of Guptill’s late-innings assault was a 110m six he launched over mid-wicket and onto the roof of the ‘Cake Tin’. Beyond architecture, other forms of popular culture have also demonstrated the Name Game. A Dog’s Show was a television series that was screened at prime time on a Sunday night. This gave a mass national audience exposure to ‘canine name games’, Ted, Red, Fred, which facilitate expedient sheep herding! The Beehive8-buildings-with-interesting-nicknames-416775-xl 8-buildings-with-interesting-nicknames-416778-xlwww.blablablarchitecture.com


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