First up was a day trip to Christchurch to experience a private dwelling in Fendalton. This residence is clad in a pixelated coat made up of artfully laid bricks sourced from Canterbury Clay (you can read about our passion for brick in the right context here: not-just-another-brick). Although project architect Michael Dalton and executive director Richard Naish had visited the site regularly, others in the studio who worked on the design had never seen the house in all its robust realness. These trips are an inspiration injection, a reminder to the wider team of the quality of work we are doing. Afterwards, on the bus to Waipara to visit Black Estate (another RTA Studio project) for lunch – and, yes, a few wines – the talk was all about the home’s design.
Later in the year, after what felt like a year of interminable rain, 35 of us from the Auckland and Hawke’s Bay studios joined up for a weekend away at The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp. It’s an accommodation facility that does what it says on the tin: a hub of huts that provides those of adventurous spirit doorstep access to a world-class landscape and heritage area. Friday drinks around the fireplace (which doubles as a BBQ) with the snowy mountains looming and a crisp bite of excitement in the air was truly something special. Our contingent occupied the entire compound which is set out like a mini village and we got to experience three of the camp’s packaged adventures: a 4WD tour up the Rees Valley, jetboating on the Dart River and a trek through the spectacular landscape to some historic miner’s huts. Ossobuco, served at shared diner-style tables in the cosy main hub, simply melted in the mouth. Dashing through the cold beneath a star-prickled sky to our sleeping quarters at the end of the evening was all part of the fun. Learn more about how RTA Studio helped shape this addition to the playground that is the Southern Alps here: Camping-But-Not-As-You-Know-It