Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects - Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Tauranga

New Associate: Auckland Architect, Matt Robinson

May 9, 2020

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Just before New Zealand went into Level 4 lockdown, we were about to announce that architect Matt Robinson has been appointed as an Associate Director. Now that relative normality on its way, we want to congratulate Matt and ask what he's been up to during lockdown, at home in Auckland's Westmere.

Matt blog karekare

Matt, pre-lockdown, at one of his favourite Auckland spots

Matt, you are a Senior Architect in our Auckland studio. Who's been in your bubble while you're working from home?

My wife Penny, 15-year-old Issy,  7-year-old twins, Phoebe and Jasper, plus Alfred Pickles the Schnauzer. Alfie has been sleeping at my feet in his bean bag or nudging my leg for a pat during work hours (to escape the twins).

Your home is a former state house that you extended with a new wing for living and dining. How has it performed?

The new extension has worked well during lockdown, there's plenty of space for everyone. It opens onto the lawn, climbing frame and trampoline so it's great for the twins. 

Matt Robinson architect westmere 1

The original section of the house, the former state house, has been driving us crazy. The 1.8 x 1.6m bathroom has finally reached its use-by date. A positive of this time is that it has motivated me to finish the plans so we can get the renovation of this old part of the house underway. 

Your children have enjoyed having an architect Dad at home ...

I've completed some fun home projects, I've made a fire pit using pavers from under the clothesline. We've already toasted a lot of marshmallows.

Matt blog firepitThe Robinsons enjoying their new fire pit

I've also created a model solar system for teaching the kids measurement, and a tree house in one of the trees on our berm. I used timber left over from the house extension.  

Matt blog tree house

Twins Phoebe and Jasper exploring their architecturally-designed tree hut

The tree house has created a lot of local interest, it's nice to see people having the time to notice the small things. We are all loving the freedom outside with no cars, doing a lot of bike riding with the kids flying down the roads yelling ‘this is the life!’.  

Matt blog jasper

What have you missed most during this time?

As I'm sure everyone has experienced, working from home has advantages and challenges.  Penny and I have been catching up with mates around the world for the occasional Zoom cocktail party, although I wouldn’t advise cocktails at 11am.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the office for the HMOA banter and the luxury of bouncing ideas around with the team.

I have also missed heading out for the weekends – I’m looking forward to taking off and having a change of scene.

While at home, you've been mainly working on Auckland apartments ... 

I've been focussed on two apartment developments, Buscomb Apartments, a 14-floor apartment building in Henderson, and the Rose Road development, a five-floor apartment building in Ponsonby.

I've also been working through a number of potential feasibilities for our clients, and focussing on my house in the evenings.