Dalman Architects moved back to central Christchurch city in April, to a studio office with a design that was inspired by the ancient totara forests formerly located on the Colombo Street site.
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.
The occasion was marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday 26 April, with Hon. Lianne Dalziel Mayor of Christchurch joining managing director Richard Dalman to do the honours.
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.
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.
Richard Dalman says, “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. But here we are, ready to continue helping Christchurch recover and achieve its great potential.”