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New Zealand Institute of Architects









Lyttelton Studio Retreat

Bull O’Sullivan Architects

On a precipitous site above the small township of Lyttelton sits a studio and accommodation for Bull O’Sullivan’s Christchurch office.

Photo by Patrick Reynolds



This building is a labour of love and a testament to the design capacity, bloody-minded commitment and appetite for sheer hard work of its architect. Perched on a Lyttelton hill the ‘studio retreat’ – the ultimate live-work space – offers sublime views of the harbour and port and a beautifully wrought habitation. One is tempted to say the building, with its robust and straightforward shell and its finely crafted interior, perfectly expresses the dichotomy of pugnacity and poetry in its architect’s Hibernian heritage. The architecture is purposeful and pleasurable. This is a maker’s building; although very much of its time and particular New Zealand place there’s something atavistic about its genesis. The building evokes a pre-modern time when architecture was a physical pursuit – the days when, from thinking to drawing to crafting, the architect, seamlessly, did it all.

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