Dalman Architecture Managing Director, Richard Dalman.

Dalman Architects has celebrated the opening of their new studio, and a return to central Christchurch following the Canterbury earthquakes, with some top hotel projects nationally.

The specialist hotel architects and interior designers are currently undertaking a number of hotel projects throughout New Zealand including in Christchurch, Invercargill, Wellington and the new 250 room Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Auckland.

Demand for their hotel and hospitality expertise saw the company open a new branch in Auckland in late 2016.

“We are delighted to have our new studio open near the Christchurch CBD after being relocated following the Christchurch earthquakes, and to open our branch in Auckland late last year,” said owner and managing director, Richard Dalman.

“We now have plenty of room for out 23 architects and interior designers to service our clients in New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.”

Dalman Architects moved back to the heart of Christchurch last month, to a studio office with a design that was inspired by the ancient totara forests formerly located on the Colombo Street site.

The occasion was marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday 26th April, with Hon. Lianne Dalziel Mayor of Christchurch joining Managing Director Richard Dalman to do the honours.

The move was a precursor to the architects and interior designers upcoming celebration of 20 years in business, making totara an appropriate symbol that represents longevity and strength.

“It has taken a long time to find the perfect place for us close to the CBD with room for our 23 staff, expansion potential, and on a ground floor with great natural light,”Dalman said.

“But here we are, ready to continue helping Christchurch recover and achieve its great potential.”

The opening also coincided with a refresh of the brand identity and a name change to Dalman Architects (formerly known as Dalman Architecture) that was unveiled on the night.

Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch, said: “I am very glad to be able to support the launch of the brand and the opening of the office of a firm that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

“I have been making the point that with disaster always comes opportunity as long as you are prepared to seize it. Dalman Architects has definitely done that.”

The studio, located on the corner of Colombo and Peterborough Streets, is clad with timber battens of various widths that represent the ancient totara forest, and a garden featuring sculptural forms of timber trunks, rocks and ferns reminiscent of a regenerating forest floor.

The full height, red pivoting door on the Colombo Street side, is an important connection to Dalman’s award winning Durham Street site, well-known for its red meeting room that protruded from the now demolished brutalist building. The colour also resembles the red berries of the totara tree.

An exhibition space occupies the front entrance and attracts curious passers-by with its architectural models, and totara sculptures provided by Di Lucas that were found under the former Christchurch Star building.

At the heart of the office is the ‘Totara Room’. A space fully lined inside and out with totara tongue and groove boards, creating a warm texture against the slate-coloured tile floor.

To the north-side of the office space is the installation of a deep-blue 20-foot shipping container. The container was converted into a meeting room, and pulls a grin and talking-point from visitors, especially Cantabrians who are used to the multi-purpose function of containers post-quake.

Adjacent to the open plan office, a ‘waka’ shaped table occupies the staff room. Just as totara made wakas were capable of carrying a number of warriors, all staff can comfortably sit around the table for meetings, lunch and get-togethers.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management