Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) New Zealand Architecture Award for Abodo Showcase, Cardrona

Assembly Architects were thrilled to be awarded a Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects New Zealand Architecture Award for Small Project Architecture for the Abodo Showcase in Cardrona. The awards recognise the very best of New Zealand architecture in the programme year. The award was announced at an awards ceremony at the Christchurch Town Hall, but was received by the team in person at a satellite event at Amisfield, Queenstown.

Joining the Assembly team on stage at Amisfield was Daniel Gudsell, Abodo Founder, builders Bryce Dunlop and Brian Muir of Dunlop Builders, and Fearghal McGuinness of Sullivan Hall Structural Engineers. Architect Justin Wright acknowledged the work of the team, especially Marcus Kirk, and went on to comment on the vital importance of carbon reduction and how using the NZ produced timber resource from Abodo assists that.

Abodo Founder Daniel Gudsell reinforced these statements. “No longer can we use slow grown, imported timbers to build premium homes and structures. This building is a showcase of what can be achieved when we think differently – it is designed to inspire others”

The jury citation, read out at the event and published in an awards book presented on the night, read:

Despite all the signifiers of a house, this showroom for a timber structural and cladding supplier is instead a beautifully crafted display box of the best qualities of its product. Precision and control are demonstrated across the fully clad timber exterior screen, as well as the expressed internal structural framing. The building itself confirms the promise that this timber product is strong and will not warp, and in doing so fulfils its intention as a showcase for the manufacturer. Experimentation with the various products extends through the fitout and floorings, creating an overall effect of a precise and elegant container, inside and out. When is a house not a house? When it is a showroom.

Following on from recent wins in the Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects Southern Architecture Awards and the Interior Awards, Dan also commented “We didn’t build the Cardrona Cabin to win awards – although they have been gratefully received. We built the cabin to showcase New Zealand’s finest product design, architectural design and craftsmanship”.

Interior Awards 2020 Retail Award for Abodo Showcase

At a glamour award ceremony on 8 October at St Mathews in the City, Auckland – Abodo Showcase was announced as the Retail Award winner of the Interior Awards 2020. The Assembly team were unable to make it to the award event, but were informed of the news by the Abodo client Dan Gudsell, who attended the event.

The jury said:

“This year’s retail category was notable for building supply retailers using their showrooms not just as places to display their wares, but as living proof of what their products are capable of. Within this trend, the Abodo showroom was a laudable example.”

“It combines typologies – residential and retail – to challenge the showroom model. Located in a challenging alpine climate, the building itself is a tour de force of its products’ capabilities. The simplicity of the design, both inside and out, belies the devoted attention to detail and construction by all. The life-cycle of the project was considered and a reuse solution was built into the structure. This showroom received unanimous positive votes, thanks to its design, methodology, creativity and sustainability intent.”

This is a first for Assembly in the Retail category of the Interior Awards. Assembly won the Emerging Design Practice in the Interior Awards back in 2012 in the inaugural awards event.

This nears the end of the 2020 awards season, with Abodo also collecting an NZIA Southern Architecture Award, and being short-listed for the NZIA New Zealand awards which are due to be announced in on 4 November.

Full citations and award winners are shown here: https://architecturenow.co.nz/articles/winners-announced-interior-awards-2020/

Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) Southern Architecture Awards 2020

Assembly were thrilled to receive three awards in the Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) Southern Architecture Awards. Presented online this year, the awards were announced by actor and director Jennifer Te Atamira Ward-Lealand, CNZM.

The awards event can be watched here.

New Zealand Institute of Architects Southern Award 2020 in the Small Project Category for Abodo Showcase, Cardrona https://www.nzia.co.nz/awards/local/award-detail/8845 The project also received a Resene Colour Award.

New Zealand Institute of Architects Southern Award 2020 in the Housing Category for Bendemeer House, Queenstown https://www.nzia.co.nz/awards/local/award-detail/8838

New Zealand Institute of Architects Southern Award 2020 in the Housing Category for Scott House, Mt Barker, Wanaka https://www.nzia.co.nz/awards/local/award-detail/8875 The project also received a Resene Colour Award.


This would be a great place to Work From Home…

On 16 March 2020 the Assembly team commenced “working from home” in response to social distancing cues and in advance of the office Government lock down.

We remain working on projects and our contact details remain the same, however there is no one in the assembly studio to answer the phone, so please use the mobile phone numbers at this time. Emails remain the same.

We welcome inquiries for new projects. We can assist with project feasibility and due diligence if you are in the planning stages of a project, and can prepare documentation for consents and construction.

Stay safe. Kia Kaha x

Louise Wright 021560998

Justin Wright 021565363

Kiwi-made eco-timber could replace unsustainable imported cedar


Abodo’s showcase Cardrona cabin has been carefully crafted to demonstrate a local alternative to imported old-growth cedar.

Eco-timber company Abodo Wood is demonstrating how local alternatives can be used to replace unsustainable imported timber from old-growth forests.

The company has imported Finish thermal treatment technology and applied its own patented finishing process to come up with a timber cladding that endures harsh conditions and mimics exotic wood grain patterns.

Abodo director Daniel Gudsell said New Zealand imported an estimated $100 million worth of cedar from old-growth forests a year.​

Abodo treated pine with a combination of high temperatures and steam to make it more durable, before cutting and gluing it back together in a different orientation, giving it added stability and a grain that looked more like cedar than pine, he said.

The process is chemical free.

Abodo Wood director Daniel Gudsell says the company plans to build another nine chalets in Central Otago.

“The way it’s oriented affects the way it weathers. Vertical grain faces the weather, which means it cracks less and is more stable outside. Then the coating lasts longer and it needs less maintenance,” Gudsell said.

While still a premium product, it cost slightly less than imported cedar, he said.

In an effort to prove the product to locals in Central Otago, known for its harsh alpine weather, Abodo spent over $1.5m building a cabin to showcase the timber, near the Cardrona Hotel.

Abodo had plans to spend millions more to build nine other chalets of various sizes and finishes. The chalets would be used for tourist accommodation.

Once thermally treated the timber is a chocolate colour, but can be tinted in a variety of colours. The treatment is completely chemical free.

“People from Central Otago are notoriously suspicious of building materials that they don’t know. There’s a reason for that. They have got a different environment from the rest of New Zealand. They are a big users of imported cedar. They like it, they trust it,” he said.

“We wanted to show that you don’t have to use timbre from 200- or 300-year-old trees, you can use New Zealand pine and get a really nice architectural finish.”

Reflecting the historic nature of Cardrona township, the cabin’s simple gable form is a contemporary interpretation of rural huts and sheds found scattered across the region.

The 102-square-metre show cabin, designed by Arrowtown’s award-winning Assembly Architects and built by Dunlop Builders of Wanaka, took about eight months to complete.

The majority of pine comes from the Kaingaroa Forest in the central North Island, the largest pine plantation in the country. Abodo processed the timber at a factory in nearby Reporoa.

Abodo had partnered with a local sawmill, which funded the majority of factory construction because of the work it would generate.

Abodo imported the two kilns for the thermal treatment at a cost of roughly $2.5m each and would import another one in the next few years, Gudsell said.

Gudsell said the company had a turn over of about $55m a year and said the kilns were operating at about 75 per cent capacity.

The company would increase production in line with its export growth, which was currently 70 per cent of the business, he said.

Abodo Wood says the local market is about 30 per cent of the business.

However, the treated wood represented only about 35 per cent of sales and Abodo produced around 10,000 cubic meters a year. 

Focussing on Australia, the United States, Britain and Europe, Gudsell said Abodo’s growth would come from the thermally heated timber. 

“What we’ve found is that there is a trend towards timber cladding,” Gudsell said.