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In Context: RT Studio

The inaugural project in a series exploring the work of architects from Aotearoa New Zealand, presenting architecture in new and experimental ways to audiences.

RTA’s work has long been described as contextual, their projects carefully knitted into the urban fabric. Established in 1999 and now situated just around the corner from Objectspace, the studio established a reputation for thoughtful interventions in Auckland’s urban fringe. These projects often stemmed from unpromising commissions – tightly constrained sites, limited budgets, or the need to reuse existing buildings – but the results had remarkable strength and clarity, each acknowledging the inseparable relationship between building and environment.

Now working across a range of building types across the country, RTA’s expanded field of operation has drawn the studio to develop new techniques to embed these projects within their cultural, economic, and landscape settings. The ability to understand these projects in reference to their places – inner city, city fringe suburban, agricultural, wilderness – offers new insights into a New Zealand architecture.

This exhibition maps RTA Studio’s impact on the built environment, presenting nearly 30 projects – unbuilt, built, and in process – in their respective contexts. In Context considers the success of a building not just in the measure of the architecture itself but in its contribution to our sense of place.


Objectspace Gallery Auckland




Project Team: Andrew Barrie, Michelle Wang, Jane Waterhouse, Benjamin Feng

Construction Team: The models were made by Nicola Chang, Muqi Chen, William Chen, Yu Chen, Xiaoling Cheng, Xiaoling Cheng, Daniel Choi, Stella Choi, Shuen Shuen Chu, Ethan Chung, Matt Connolly, Le Minh Dang, Maia Edge-Woodward, Valentina Espinoza Cacéres, Benjamin Feng, Victoria Gaitan, Victoria Gancheva, Vinayak Garg, Cindy Huang, Angela Hung, Iman Khan, John Kim, Mikaela King, Angela Lai, Harry Lee, Jungsu Lee, Jien Lim, Maddie Longson, Kevin Moo, Hyesun Moon, Kristy Ng, Marika Ocampo, Lulu Ota, Oliver Ray-Chaudhuri, Sabrina  Rashid, Jennifer Rong, Isabella Ross, Jade Shum, Dian Wang, Samuel Wen, Wenting Xie, Wendy Xu, and Lily Zhao. Many thanks also to the technical staff at the University of Auckland Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries workshops, particularly Scott Facer and Sharon Fitness.

Photography: Jonny Scott & Samuel Hartnett

Recognition: Finalist, 2020 NZIA Auckland Architecture Awards

Project Review: