Dunedin usually makes headlines for its couch- burning university antics, but in fact it’s one of the smartest cities in the country… Some two percent of the city has a PhD, which is about five times the national average.
### idealog.co.nz January 14, 2013 @ 9:37 am
Architecture Van Brandenburg’s ambitious Marisfrolg project
By Vincent Heeringa
From subterranean offices in Dunedin, Architecture Van Brandenburg is designing the headquarters of a Chinese fashion house. The result: a spectacular sculpture that people can work in.
On a side street in Dunedin in a quiet underground office, a couple of young men sit at their desks, fussing with their keyboards. The conspiratorial atmosphere belies the office’s real purpose. It’s the Dunedin branch of Architecture Van Brandenburg, a Queenstown firm that’s responsible for some of New Zealand’s heartland icons: Huka Lodge, Millbrook Resort and Wairarapa’s Wharekauhau. It’s also the design centre for Van Brandenburg’s latest work, a four-year explosion of imagination for international fashion house Marisfrolg (pronounced ‘masifer’), in Shenzen, China.
Consider the scale. The project consists of five buildings on a 90,000m2 site. That’s roughly 22 acres, the size of nine rugby fields or three Te Papas. It’s bigger than New Zealand’s largest building, Auckland Hospital, and possibly the largest commission ever for a New Zealand architect.
And consider the design. Van Brandenburg’s earlier work was more akin to Middle Earth and English hunting parties. This project is fit for a Ridley Scott movie. From the air the construction emulates a flying bird, representing the movement in the Marisfrolg garments and the emergence of this important Chinese brand. Seen from the ground, the buildings grow out of a man-made pond and are clad in a brilliant, glittering, white surface of broken tiles. The roofs are draped in gigantic, gravity-defying leaves.
Originally published in Idealog #41, page 50
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr