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

Take a closer look – HMOA's details and materials


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Whangarei House garage door
Garage door, Whangārei House. Photo Jackie Meiring.
Ngaio House old and new
Ngaio House, linking old and new. Photo: Paul McCredie.

Details of interest: the decisions architects make

When I start, my first idea for a building is with the material. I believe architecture is about that. It's not about paper, it's not about forms. It's about space and material,” Peter Zumthor, Swiss architect.

What distinguishes an architect's work often comes down to the material choices and the clarity and consistency of the details to create a bespoke building – one that's designed specifically for its site and for those who are going to use it most. With a focus on materials and details, we're showcasing images that get up closer to the architecture. 


Clifton Hill House

Additions to a modernist home in Sumner, Christchurch, originally designed in 1965 by Austrian architect, Ernest Kalnins. 

Clifton Hill house stair v3. Russ Kleyn copy
Stair, Clifton Hill House. Photo Russ Kleyn.

A bold, modernist statement that stood out for its streamlined use of concrete, steel and glass, it was a handsome building then – sturdy yet somehow ethereal – and it is as valid and arresting today, from a respectful three-year renovation project led by Duval O'Neill.”

—Adrienne Rewi on Clifton Hill House, from the book: Modern, NZ Homes from 1938 to 1977.

Clifton Hill house HMOA
Clifton Hill House. Photo Russ Kleyn.

The architects have recognised the power of the original dwelling and the passion of its owners,”
—NZIA Awards jury, 2013, on Clifton Hill House.

Whangārei House

On a small cliff-front section overlooking the town basin and Hundertwasser Art Centre, HMOA designed a new three-storey, three-bedroom house with a pool and plenty of space for entertaining. Board-formed, in-situ concrete walls and stair core balance the extensive use of timber.

Whangarei House contrasts
Contrasting exterior cladding, Whangārei House. Photo Jackie Meiring
Whangarei house skylights
Skylights, Whangārei House. Photo Jackie Meiring

Peka Peka II House

Peka Peka House II is clad in two contrasting cedar weatherboard profiles and sits amid a glade of native trees.

The beautifully consistent and controlled detailing completes what is a very pleasant picture,”
—NZIA Awards Jury, 2016, on Peka Peka House II.

Waikanae House I

Waikanae House I v2
Waikanae House I. Photo Andy Spain.

Remuera House

Remuera House
Tasmanian oak flooring and new timber joinery in Remuera House. Photo David Straight.

O'Neill House

The material palette of O'Neill House remains the same as original home that was demolished following the Christchurch earthquakes—simple, natural, with lots of wood. The original double-skin cladding has also been maintained, articulating each elevation in dark Western Red Cedar or Siberian Larch. 

Oneill House. Russ Kleyn
O'Neill House. Photo Russ Kleyn.

Peka Peka House I

This compact, eco-friendly home is made up of three simple boxes. Two of the boxes are black-stained cedar, perfectly positioned to maximise views and shelter, and to create a sheltered courtyard.

Peka Peka I House by Jason Mann
Black-stained cedar boxes, perfectly positioned to maximise views and shelter: Peka Peka I House. Photo Jason Mann.

Seatoun House II

Seatoun House Juergen Rausch copy
Seatoun House II. Photo Juergen Rausch.

This elegant home continues its restraint inside… A beautiful home that is a successful stage for the family,”
—NZIA Awards jury on Seatoun House II.

Mt Pleasant House

Simple forms touch the ground lightly for this new three-bedroom house on a rural hillside setting in a coastal Christchurch suburb. The rugged exterior of pale grey profiled steel and natural macrocarpa reinforces a rural vernacular.


Mt Pleasant House
Macrocarpa in Mount Pleasant House. Photo Russ Kleyn.

Raumati Beach House

Raumati Beach House
Joinery in Raumati Beach House. Photo Paul McCredie.

NZ Academy of Fine Arts

NzAcadmy of Fine Arts
A natural palette of materials, black steel, timber panels, cement sheet panels and polished concrete, in the NZ Academy of Fine Arts. Photo Jono Rotman.

Māori Women's Development Inc

Maori Womens Development Inc. Office Entry Sign 1 of 6 copy
Signage at Māori Women's Development Inc. Photo by ???

“…a testament to the architects’ clear understanding and interpretation of the client’s requirements,”
—NZIA Awards Jury, 2013 on Māori Women's Development Inc.


FNZ moss wall
Moss wall, FNZ fit-out. Photo Andy Spain.

Lane St Studios

On a four-hectare site that was previously home to a data centre, HMOA created 6,300 sqm of production and workshop spaces. Lane St Studios also include two sound stages, 4,472 sqm in size, a theatre and offices.

The Grid photo by Stephen ACourt 37 copy
The Grid, Lane St Studios. Photo courtesy of Lane Street Studios by Stephen A’Court.

Port Hills House

In Christchurch's Port Hills, a new four-bedroom family home takes inspiration from the original 1960s house that was demolished after the Canterbury earthquakes.

Cashmere house screen. Photo Russ Kleyn
Timber screen, Port Hills House. Photo Russ Kleyn.

Timber screens and interior panelling made of Oregon, and recycled from the original house, add warmth and texture inside and out.

HMOA Cashmere House 221
Port Hills House, ceiling and joinery. Photo Russ Kleyn.
Port Hills House
The base of Port Hills House is clad in dark brick. Photo Russ Kleyn.

Whangārei House

Whangarei House timber and concrete
Concrete and timber in Whangārei House. Photo Jackie Meiring.
Whangerei House timber
Timber panelling, Whangārei House. Photo Jackie Meiring.

Peka Peka House II

Designed to fit perfectly in its environment,"
—our clients, the owners of Peka Peka II House.

Stair, Peka Peka House II. Photo Andy Spain

Waikanae House I

The design of Waikanae House I comprises macrocarpa timber ‘volumes’ to create sheltered spaces for living and entertaining.

Waikanae House I
Waikanae House I. Photo Andy Spain.

Remuera House

Contemporary additions to a two-storey bungalow in Auckland. Circulation areas in the original home have been improved and light now floods in through new rosewood-framed windows and a striking, elongated entranceway. 

Remuera House. David Straight
The new section of Remuera House includes leads onto a covered outdoor living area, swimming pool and pool house. Photo David Straight.

O'Neill House

On a hill site, looking to the ocean and Southern Alps, once stood a 1950s home designed by architect Don Cowey. Following damage from the Christchurch earthquakes, the house was rebuilt to a similar layout, a tribute to the original architect.

Oneill House 16
O'Neill House. Photo Russ Kleyn.

Peka Peka House I

Peka Peka I House. Photo Jason Mann
Timber panelling, Peka Peka House I. Photo Jason Mann.

Nga Waka Winery

Nga waka winery. Photo Jono Rotman
Nga Waka Winery. Photo Jono Rotman.

A careful composition of volumes and elements combined with the expressive articulation of structural components has taken the humble New Zealand shed to a new level.”
—NZIA New Zealand Award jury, 2003, on Nga Waka Winery.

Riddiford Pavilion

Riddiford pavillion
Riddiford Pavillion, Lower Hutt. Photo Andy Spain.

Petone Townhouses

Petone Townhouses
Petone Townhouses. Photo Andy Spain

HMOA's simple, modern design takes inspiration from the roof forms of Petone's residential and industrial past.

Māori Women's Welfare League

Maori Womens Welfare League. Paul McCredie
Decorative timber screens, Māori Women's Welfare League. Photo Paul McCredie.

The proportions are considered and definite, and seamless in their relationship of traditional with contemporary. An elegant screen, which could be read as a cloak, provides a signifier on the front of the house.”
—NZIA Awards jury, 2011, on Māori Women's Welfare League.

Maori Womens Welfare League. PaulMcCredie
A decorative timber screen is a metaphoric cloak that adds a further level of detail and finery to the street frontage and provides identity to the Māori Women's Welfare League.

Te Awe Library

wellington library by hmoa
Stair, Te Awe Library. Photo Andy Spain.

The architect deployed a design strategy to craft a public space that is generous in both spatial experience and quality,”
—NZIA Awards jury comment on Te Awe Library.

Lane St Studios

Miro Stage photo by Stephen ACourt 12
Miro Stage, Lane St Studios. Photo courtesy of Lane Street Studios by Stephen A’Court.