KZNA thumnail picKZ-NIA,
Issue 1/2009.

Sphere Design and Architecture, founded by Rupert Spence with Wendy Houldin, provides a design wing with 10 years of specialist design experience in the retail and commercial sector and an architectural wing which developed with the additional member, Gina Walker, in 2007.

This particular project developed out of need. Increasing demand on both design and architectural services meant an exciting growth period in the practice, and resulted in the need for more work space. With recent awards of major projects in both the luxury residential and commercial sector and significant commercial work in the C.B.D., the practice previously based in Westville needed to be more accessible to both clients and the coastal sites. The practice also needed to create its own identity and provide a stable and stimulating space to work from.

Sphere took the leap and has built its own building off Madeline Road. Morningside provides a great locality that is most central to staff and has reduced commuting distances and times significantly. This studio now forms part of a complex, textured and exciting mixed use design precinct.

KZNIA inside article pic


The studio annex is adjacent to the old home. This home has been refurbished and converted to exhibition space for a fabric house and small offices. The architectural language of clipped eaves, lean to roofs and wrap around verandas draw from the residential palette of the surrounding historic buildings. The new building reflects the practices design philosophy of uncluttered lines, fresh takes on classic forms and priority given to comfort, space and flow and a little playfulness. The building makes use of a compact footprint where coverage and FAR are limited. The use of volume and open rafters has been used to maximise the vertical space and give the office an airy and highly functional space. The provision of a mezzanine has resulted in a library, great design spot and additional meeting space.

Brickwork and flooring salvaged from the original home were used to contrast with the crisp white structure, natural screeds and galvanized steel provide the rest of the palette and a juicy green paint has been used on feature walls (this colour can be easily changed as mood and trend dictates). The site has also been landscaped with indigenous vegetation, porous surfaces and trees to provide a green and healthy environment within walking distance of all amenities for the staff.