Sheppard & Rout Architects

Sheppard & Rout Architects practised for 30 years from an historic two-story villa on Salisbury St before the 2010/11 earthquakes severely weakened the timber frame structure. They had to decide then whether to restore or demolish the building. In reality there was no debate because their history was too closely linked to the house.

The question was how to replicate the open plan working environment in which they were temporarily housed into a heritage villa, it simply didn’t fit. It was therefore decided to use some of the spare land behind the villa and construct a large studio space that they could link to the old house. They determined that the rooms in the old house would be best-suited as meeting spaces, interview rooms and reception; the ‘front of house’ for the practice.

The damaged house was tied to new foundations and a new rib-raft slab poured throughout. The house was gutted and re-planned to accommodate the new spaces, insulated, double-glazed and detailed with new traditional mouldings and light-stained oak flooring to enhance the character of the original villa.


The wide passageway in the house has been extended as the link to the new studio workspace. At 250 square metres, this single-storey annex has an exposed steel frame and is vertically clad in a combination of dark-stained cedar and dark grey cementitious panels. This building is full of natural light, with its full-length windows facing toward the extensive landscaped grounds. The finishes and detailing are simple and industrial, with negative detailing, polished concrete slab and acoustic baffle ceiling.


The decking under the villa’s veranda has been extended around the studio, continuing the linking theme. A large west-facing covered deck looks out over the garden and grounds, and offers a fantastic outdoor room for staff to enjoy their breakout times.