High on a Lyttelton hilltop, a new building by Michael O’Sullivan makes for a spectacular creative getaway
Q&A with Michael O’Sullivan of Bull O’Sullivan Architects
You’re based in Auckland. How did you end up designing and owning this building in Lyttelton?
Christchurch called us by way of a house we were building for a neighbouring property and by a desire to build a special architectural drawing room. When I stood on the land it was like standing on a similar piece of land in Ireland where Dad was born. It was called Castletown Berehaven, and has a port and similarly bleak topography. The project was driven a bit by that, by pure enthusiasm to be involved with the rebuild, and despair at having to stay in Canterbury motels. It’s a great space to work in, and it’s also good to bring potential clients to. It’s a space that offers comfort and reassurance. They can understand more of what our work is like, saving us from having to talk and explain it.
What do you do when you go there?
Whenever I get there, the first thing I seem to do is sleep on the couch for 30 or 40 minutes before anything happens. It’s a very and soothing space to go to. It can be torrential and almost dangerous weather outside and as soon as you are in the front door with the fire going, it’s something else. The sunrises are breathtaking because the building faces east. I go down there for meetings most weeks. The computers are connected to the work server, but mostly I prefer to do watercolour paintings of potential projects at one of the desks. When you’re there on your own, you’re actually a lot more productive than in our regular office.
Words by: Jeremy Hansen
Photography by: Patrick Reynolds