Christopher Kelly NZ Registered Architect

Christopher Kelly, Founding Principal

Christopher Kelly brings a conceptual rigor to all the stages of a project and a deep understanding of the processes needed to produce landmark buildings, honed over a career that is equal parts local and global.

Kelly was born in the Wairarapa and studied architecture at Victoria University of Wellington. He worked under Ian Athfield until NZ registration. Later, he undertook a post-graduate course in architecture at the Fine Arts Stadelschule Frankfurt. In 1989, he joined Renzo Piano’s Kansai Air Terminal team in the initial design phase of the joint venture for the 1.4 billion USD building. He became one of the project architects in the detailed design stage, leading the construction documentation of 1.6 km long air terminal roof in the Osaka office.

Christopher Kelly on working with Renzo Piano 

In 1992, he returned from Italy to establish Architecture Workshop in Wellington, building it into the internationally recognised practice that it is today. In 1997, Piano invited Kelly to collaborate on a commercial tower and apartment project in Sydney’s CBD.  He has been a keynote speaker at the Sydney 2004 Conference, won a worldwide Emerging Architect Award in 2004, and presented his work as part of the lecture series at the RIBA in London. In 2009, he was one of the international judges of the inaugural World Festival of Architecture in Barcelona and speaker at the Stadelschule Alumni conference in Frankfurt. Closer to home, he has served on the NZIA National Executive and the awards jury. 

Our People

Architecture is a collaborative process. Simply bringing people together to work collectively with aims beyond self-interest is surely one of mankind’s most significant achievements. We help graduates to develop their potential, be it technical craft, digital modelling or cost focused project management, with their range of expertise contributing to the firm’s strength and diversity. Alumni from AW feature among the world’s best architecture practices.

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Our Collaborators

We have a collaborative approach to practice and utilise a “circular workshop” methodology, which means we workshop solutions closely with the client, the consultants, the cost planners and the contractors. We seek their feedback to inform decision making, working initially with rough sketches and card models and leaving the beautiful presentations until we have an agreed good solution. 

The normal work method for Architecture Workshop seeks an integrated design approach to all stages of the process, particularly in environmental services with Dave Fullbrook of eCubed Building Workshop and structural engineering with Alistair Cattananch of Dunning Thornton Consultants. AW projects generate from a strong response to context and landform. Most of the buildings exhibited on our website are the result of this collaboration established over the past 20 years. 

Alistair Cattanach Architecture Workshop Collaborator

Alistair Cattanach

Director | Dunning Thornton Consultants

Alistair has 20 years structural engineering experience in NZ and the UK. He has an unrivalled reputation for innovation, and particular skills in strategic planning, complex analysis, base isolation and other non-linear 3D modelling. He has had notable roles in timber design, seismic assessment, heritage buildings, modular, and Environmentally Sustainable Design. Alistair is passionate about architecture and believes in the multi-discipline approach to design. Alistair’s knowledge of the non-structural disciplines allows these opportunities to be explored.

Dave Fullbrook Architecture Workshop Collaborator

Dave Fullbrook

Director | eCubed Building Workshop

When Dave formed eCubed, he had a vision for a specialist building services practice that integrated sustainable design at its core. An emphasis not just on engineering services but also on the whole built environment and including the way it is made, how it interacts and how it performs – culminating in the establishment of their ‘True Green’ service. Prior to eCubed, Dave worked throughout the world for major engineering and architectural consultancies, and now brings this wider perspective and depth of experience to local projects. Dave is always looking for a deeper architecture that’s more integrated, durable, sustainable, efficient and user friendly.