Country’s First Festival of Architecture Celebrates Past, Present and Future Design

New Zealand’s love of design goes on show as the country’s inaugural Festival of Architecture opens the doors to buildings, houses, galleries and studios in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and regional centres for ten days, from 7th September.

Including studio open days, design competitions, city walking tours and social housing debates, there are more than 50 events on offer and most of them are free. Smart and sassy, L.A’.s Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph, known as Design, Bitches, headline the Festival, with a series of public talks encouraging us to expand the definition of architecture, go bold and take more risks.

New Zealand Institute of Architects CEO, Teena Hale Pennington, says she is thrilled to launch this country’s first Festival celebrating the profession.

“Architecture reflects who are as a nation; it can make the difference between living in an okay city or a great city. Good design makes us feel invigorated and can help us to create, work and live in more inspiring ways.”

The Festival or Architecture programme is online at

Auckland event highlights include a Green Building Walking Tour of the CBD (Saturday 9 September), a Tamaki Makaurau Hikoi with Pita Turei (Saturday 16 September), and an exhibition at Silo 6, Wynyard Quarter titled Imagining a New Future: How Biotechnology and Smart Technologies could change the way we live (9-17 September). Spokespeople from vying political parties debate the answer to this country’s social housing woes on Wednesday 6 September with Rod Oram keeping them in line and on the 9th and 16th  of September, the city’s architects open their studios to the public.

Wellingtonians can go on a tour of the recently refurbished Public Trust building on Thursday 7th September and that evening, there’s a debate about our housing crisis at Victoria University’s School of Architecture. An exhibition at Resene Thorndon curated by the National Association of Women in Construction looks at ‘non-heroic’ architecture and the role gender plays in shaping our built work (7-14 September) and architects all over the city open their studios to the public on 15 September.

A tour of Christchurch’s new central city buildings is a regional highlight (9th and 16th September). Throughout the Festival, Canterbury’s architects will hold public open days and there’s a dance party celebrating the offkilter, the haphazard and the fun that can be found in architecture at The Arts Centre Gym on 16 September.

You can explore the future of iwi-led developments in Tauranga at Jasmax on Thursday 14 September and on 9 September you can go on the DHT Architour of Tauranga houses built in the period 1847 to 1990, with coffee and muffins served en route.

There’s plenty for aspiring architects, too. On Sunday 17 September, student groups from the University of Auckland’s civil engineering and architecture schools have six hours to create a medium density social housing project to the theme of diversity. Architecture students from around New Zealand are invited to compete in the fun-filled, fast-paced SANNZ design competition held on the 15th and 16th September in Wellington.

The University of Auckland’s School of Architecture celebrates its 100th year with a series of events for current, alumni and future students including a sparkling invite only gala dinner at the Pullman Hotel on Saturday 9 September.

“This Festival is celebrates the past, present and future of Aotearoa-New Zealand’s architecture and design.  Architecture is for us all. I warmly encourage everyone to check out the programme and to head along and see what has and is shaping the future design of our country,” says Ms Hale Pennington.

The New Zealand Institute of Architects is grateful to the support of principal sponsor dormakaba, international speaker sponsor, GIB and major sponsors Rider Levett Bucknall, The Warren Trust and Warren and Mahoney.


For images, interview enquiries or further information please contact Penny Hartill, hPR, 021 721 424,

News release – for immediate release