Irving Smith Architects has been developed as a niche Architecture practice based in Nelson, and working in sensitive environments in New Zealand and abroad.

We demonstrate an ongoing commitment to innovative, sustainable and research based design, backed up by national and international award and publication recognition, ongoing research and teaching at the University of Auckland, and regular invitations to lecture on our work, including winning World Timber Building of the Year and World Higher Education and Research Building of the Year at the 2021 World Architecture Festival, 2021 Architizer World Architecture + Wood Award, The Building at the 2021 INDE Indo-Pacific Architecture Awards, Best of the Best Green Building at the 2021 Masterprize Awards, an Award of Distinction at the 2019, UNESCO Asia-Pacific Cultural heritage Awards, World Villa of the Year at the 2017 World Architecture Festival in Berlin 2017, being Highly Commended in Singapore 2015, and a finalist in Barcelona 2011, Singapore 2013,2014,2015, Berlin 2017 and Amsterdam 2019 and Lisbon 2020-2021, 2022.

We have secured in excess of 50 Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects Awards for work around NZ, including Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects New Zealand Awards for Public Architecture in 2012 and 2013, 2018, Residential Architecture in 2004,2018 and Commercial Architecture in 2022. We were nominated as a finalist for the 2013 Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects New Zealand Architectural Medal (the highest award in NZ architecture). Our national architecture awards for public work have been praised for their sensitivity and community understanding, and our residential work for their environmental suitability. We represented New Zealand at the 2015,2018 and 2021 Prague International Architecture Festivals, where our Soft Context : Soft Architecture exhibition developed an approach of looking to understand and participate with existing landscapes rather than generating new contexts.

Recognition received for Timber Design includes NZ’s highest Residential, Commercial and Engineering awards and ongoing experience with Government agencies and the University of Canterbury developing timber systems, that reduce damage during seismic events and allow immediate reoccupation. Property Council awards for excellence, received in 2011, 2013, 2021 include a Best in Category and nomination as a Supreme Finalist.

We have experience in Masterplanning and Tertiary design, garnered from extensive work on the campus at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and a broad variety of multilevel Commercial Development, and adapting and seismically strengthening existing buildings.

Our ongoing work includes Residential, Public and Structural Timber work throughout New Zealand, and overseas.

Our Partners

ANDREW IRVING : BArch (Hons First Class), BBSc VUW, FNZIA, Registered Architect

In his role at Irving Smith Architects, Andrew combines technical and design skills to lead and implement research projects and built work utilising innovative construction methodologies, including the world’s first multi-story post tensioned timber structural building, NMIT Arts & Media.

Andrew has over 25 years of experience working in New Zealand and the UK on in a variety of commercial and public projects including cultural and educational facilities, tourist ventures and commercial developments.

Andrew was the project and technical director for the award-winning NMIT Arts & Media (NZ’s Landmark Timber Structural Demonstration Building), Whakatane’s Library and Exhibition Centre and Museum refurbishment and the upgrading of Trafalgar Park, Nelson prior to Rugby World Cup and the refurbishment of Nelsons Trafalgar Centre. Andrew was project director for the recently completed seismic upgrade and refurbishment of Nelson’s historic School of Music.

Andrew has spoken extensively to Industry and Professional bodies on the topics of Seismic Design and Timber Construction since completion of the NMIT Arts & Media project. He was invited to lead a World Update Session at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore, focusing on architecture post the Christchurch earthquake. Current projects under Andrews’s direction are exploring and advancing these two topics in a commercial context.

Andrew authored the ‘2012 Structural System Optimisation Report’ for University of Canterbury and the Ministry of Primary Industries, researching and ascertaining how structural timber compares, in multi-story commercial development, with more traditional concrete and steel structural elements, using a live 4 story commercial case study project in Christchurch.

Ongoing development of design and understanding of innovative timber structures has extended to the new, world leading, Hub building at Scion’s Rotorua Campus and a pair of four storey commercial structures adjacent the Maitai River Esplanade in Nelson.

JEREMY SMITH : PhD, BArch (Hons First Class), BBSc, BSc, FNZIA : Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Auckland.

In his role as Design Director, Jeremy has led a range of ISA’s design innovations, including winning the World Timber Building of the Year and World Higher Education and Research Building of the Year at the 2021 World Architecture Festival, 2021 Architizer World Architecture + Wood Award, The Building at the 2021 INDE Indo-Pacific Architecture Awards, Best of the Best Green Building at the 2021 Masterprize Awards, a Judges Special Award at the 2020 Taipei International Design Awards, a 2019 UNESCO Award of Distinction at the Asia-Pacific Cultural Heritage Awards in Penang, and World Villa of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin 2017. ISA have been awarded at the Architecture Masterprize Awards, International Design Awards and INDE Indo-Pacific Architecture Awards, received multiple Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects Architecture Awards in public, commercial and residential categories amongst over 50 Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects architecture awards, been a finalist for the New Zealand Architecture Medal, and twice been awarded New Zealand’s national timber design award. Recent publications include Architecture Magazine, Architecture Record, Elle, Vogue and GQ Magazine.

Jeremy writes for Architecture New Zealand and has lectured widely about the practice’s work, including in Spain, Singapore, Germany, USA, Holland, India, and France. He recently spoke at the Design Excellence in Timber and Wood Symposium at the Fay Jones School of Architecture, Arkansas and in a 9-stop lecture tour through American Universities, including FJSOA, Taliesin West, Kentucky State, Mississippi State, Rural Studio, Kentucky State, Columbus Indiana, Carnegie Mellon, with a swansong at the New York League of Architects. Jeremy represented New Zealand at the 2015, 2018 and 2020 Prague International Architecture Festivals with a series of exhibitions developing the idea of participating with existing landscapes before generating new contexts, what he calls Soft Architecture. Jeremy has been appointed to architecture award juries at an international level, including being an International Juror for the Indian Institute of Architects National Awards for Architectural Excellence in 2019. He has also judged at World Architecture Festivals in Singapore 2014, Berlin 2017, and Amsterdam 2018 and 2019, at World Architecture Festival China in 2020 and 2021, as a Grand Award Juror for the A’Design International Design Award out of Italy, the 2021 Muse Design Awards out of New York, and the Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects New Zealand Architecture Awards. He has now been invited to judge at the World Architecture Festival in Lisbon 2022, appointed an International Advisor to the Saveetha College of Architecture and Design in Chennai, India, and accepted a role as an Architectural Ambassador for a series of exhibitions at Prague Castle between 2021-2025.

Jeremy is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Auckland where he teaches an iterative design studio at Masters level, won Victoria University of Wellington’s Centennial Medal for post-graduate academic achievement and has a design based PHD undertaken between practice commitments; finding time, he suggests, at airports and while his kids are at parties. The return to academia has allowed Jeremy to merge what are often divergent disciplines in New Zealand architecture. Key to his practice, teaching and research, is understanding how buildings inhabit an environment that constantly undergoes change, be it in city or rural landscapes. His work across a wide range of scales and typologies shows that architecture benefits from a continual dialogue and iterative participation between building and context. And with Soft Architecture comes the question; Is being finished finished?

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