People and Places

6 inspiring women who have made waves in New Zealand architecture

Article by Homes to Love

We’re celebrating International Women’s Day by highlighting six inspiring New Zealand architects who continue to push the boundaries of design

To mark the date for International Women’s Day and champion the #eachforequal theme this year, we’re celebrating six of New Zealand’s most successful female architects. These six women from five practices are just a handful of the incredible talent across the country who continue to push the boundaries of design.

Unique, inspiring and always moving the needle forward, here are six architects who prove why every day should be International Women’s Day.


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1. Nicola Herbst 

Nicola Herbst, one half of Auckland-based architectural firm Herbst Architects, has reputably won the award for Home of the Year multiple times for their incredible designs. Herbst Architects design houses that slip seamlessly into the local landscape, connecting homeowners with the spectacular surrounding scenery.   

Besides their award-winning homes like the Kawakawa bach or Iron Maiden, their tiny ‘Utility Shed’ on Great Barrier Island is a stand out design. Reminiscent of traditional Kiwi tramping, the hut can be unfolded and unpacked ‘with swiss-army knife efficiency’. This home may be stripped back to provide only the bare necessities, but remains self-sufficient, as power is provided from a few solar panels and water harvested from the corrugated butterfly roof.  

2. Kate Rogan & Eva Nash 

Behind the innovative architectural and interior design practice Rogan Nash Architects, are two inspirational women; Kate Rogan and Eva Nash, respectively. This dynamic duo has demonstrated their versatile and innovative responses across various briefs in both residential and commercial projects. 

Rogan Nash proved their talents in this Grey Lynn renovation, lending their architectural expertise for the extensive remodeling of a character villa. The villa remains in line with the heritage facades of the area but as you walk through the home it unravels itself to reveal a large, contemporary extension for seamless indoor-outdoor entertaining.

3. Belinda George 

As a shortlisted architect for the upcoming Home of the Year 2020 awards, this list wouldn’t be complete without celebrating the architectural expertise of Belinda George. Belinda’s eponymous practice strives to achieve simple, practical, sustainable and beautiful homes. An ‘ideas-driven’ practice, George delivers a dedicated and personal approach to each design to construct a home specifically for the homeowner. 

The semicircular structure of George’s latest project ‘Bowden House’ unsurprisingly caught the eye of this year’s Home of the Year judges. Unfamiliar in form, the curved shingled roof shelters a wrap-around deck which encourages one to engage with nature on the spectacular site. 

4. Sally Ogle

Heading to the capital for our number 4 spot on our list, we’re celebrating Sally Ogle from Patchwork Architecture. Few architectural firms receive so much attention for their first project, but Ogle (alongside her partner Ben Mitchell-Anyon) became a Home of the Year finalist for their project DogBox. They then went on to win Best Small Home at Home of the Year 2017. The firm specialises in creating efficient, economical and beautiful spaces suited for their purpose and location. 

Building on slippery slopes in Wellington is never an easy feat. Ogle and Mitchell-Anyon have proven their innovation in producing a functional home on a 10 x 10-metre platform. By building on the vertiginous site, they rewarded the homeowners with a roof terrace and incredible views.

Evelyn McNamara designed her own holiday getaway on Waiheke Island. Photograph by Jeremy Toth.

5. Evelyn Mcnamara

Evelyn McNamara stands out in contemporary New Zealand architecture with her emphasis on clean, simple, modern lines in her designs. With her environmentally friendly approach, McNamara designs homes that engage with their surroundings. Looking at McNamara’s portfolio you will notice her signature use of black cladding and kitchen cabinetry. 

McNamara’s Waiheke Bach is true to her style. The black box design is sleek and modern, yet makes a statement about traditional bach simplicity. Surrounded by native bush, the timber home complements the greenery and provides tranquillity in its minimalism form.


Words by: Katie Delany.

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