What are best building designs in New Zealand guide, NZ architecture design guide

What are the Best Building Designs in New Zealand?

29 Mar 2022

Tourists are drawn to New Zealand because it boasts stunning beaches, mountains and lakes that create panoramic vistas. Often overlooked, however, is the historic and modern architecture that features in some of the many famous buildings. There are so many gorgeous designs worth seeing if you are in the area; here are some of the best, so don’t forget your camera!

What are best building designs in New Zealand?

Christchurch Casino, Christchurch

While many bricks and mortar casinos are closing due to the explosion of internet sites like Casumo online casino, Christchurch casino is thriving and has a distinctive feel about it. It is a modern example of building design that opened its doors in 1994 and was designed by award-winning architects Warren and Mahoney. Head inside the casino to see the jewel on the crown as it has been dubbed Mond Bar, designed by Dalman Architects and is a shining design featuring crystal and light.

The Beehive, Wellington

The Beehive Wellington Parliament Building Executive Wing
photo © Adrian Welch

It is easy to see why this building has been affectionately dubbed the Beehive; it is circular in design and features lattices like a honeycomb arrangement. Busing commenced in 1969 and was still in progress right up to 1980. It forms part of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings and has been listed as a Category 1 Heritage Building. Make time to take the free guided tour as the interior is just as impressive as the exterior.

Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch

A fantastic architectural and construction feat can be found in this cathedral. It was constructed in 2013 and really is built from cardboard! Tubes were used to give stability and strength, and it was the brainchild of renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. It replaces the original cathedral demolished in 2011 following a devastating earthquake. As well as the unique design and building material the structure also features a modern stained-glass window featuring a triangular configuration.

Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin

This is a stunning example of historic architecture as the building dates to 1906 and is a Flemish Renaissance style. One of the defining characteristics is the black and white stone lifted from a quarry in Otago. It is such an iconic design that it is said to remind visitors of a gingerbread house. Head inside to see the fantastic floors, which were constructed from 750,000 tiles that were commissioned in porcelain from Royal Doulton. It is no longer an operational station, but some of the railway office functions take place there still. Visitors can enjoy a weekend farmers market, restaurant, art gallery and various events hosted throughout the year.

New Zealand beach landscape waves

Hundertwasser Public Toilets, Kawakawa

Public restrooms may not seem like the ideal tourist attraction, but these are some of the most famous for miles. They have been open since the late 1990s and were designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a New Zealand-based artist born in 1928 in Austria. He sadly passed away in 2000, so this was his last project, and the explosion of colour is stunning. It features mixed materials including ceramics, repurposed glass bottles, mosaic tiles and more in the intricate arches, columns, and curves.

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