Making A Difference To The Community

Armstrong Summers Architects Ltd brings together many years experience and skill gleaned from the private and local government sectors. The collective talents of Jeff Armstrong and Neil Summers provides clients with a complementary but diverse design resource. Their experience and common philosophical outlook allows the firm to enjoy and pursue their passion, architecture which is community oriented.

Armstrong Summers have assisted various churches, schools, and government agencies to achieve their accommodation and operational goals. Involvement in the recent Housing NZ Healthy Housing programme, ( over 50 state sector houses added to and upgraded ) was an invaluable and sometimes humbling experience.

Armstrong Summers are currently involved in a number of other projects which includes the "441Q" retail and office development on the corner of Queen Street and K Road in Auckland. This project is unusual in that it includes a two level underground car park which extends across the neighbouring boundary of the historic Auckland Baptist Tabernacle. In keeping with the brief and the requirements of the K Road precinct plan, the building rises only 3 floors above street level to keep the scale in sympathy with the Tabernacle.  The company has also been engaged to design a new atrium foyer for the Tabernacle spanning between the Church and the new 441Q building.  The atrium will provide much needed foyer, office and hospitality space for the church.

The educational facilities shown here illustrate Armstrong Summers’ commitment to understanding and interpreting the often complex and sometimes contradictory aspirations and needs of school communities and boards. To work within these parameters and find solutions for new commissions to economically resolve the formal and functional problems of integrating new fabric into old.


The commission for Remuera Intermediate School was won in a limited competition.  The board wanted a complete new image for the entry area which separated pupil movement and visitor access to reception; a new staffroom and office suite; and new library. The trick was to integrate the new facilities in terms of function and appearance with the existing weatherboard and brick fabric without compromising the desire for an image of the times.The key generative idea was to essentially define the entrance as a transitional outdoor room, a sizeable courtyard bounded by the suntrap library, the new staff/entry area and a series of brick "stelae" and walls.

The new staff block, in contrasting colour, sits at right angles to the existing main blocks and the staffroom on the upper level addresses the playing fields and the northern sun. 
The roofs are aligned with the existing roof line but pitched in reverse, effectively hiding the roof surface but giving a light and airy appearance and making a welcoming gesture to the visitor.  They are primarily steel framed and clad in longrun Zincalume® in Dimond BB900 profile falling to internal liquid applied membrane gutters. The choice of roofing and the skill of the roofers were important to the success of this low-pitched roof with its internal gutters and downpipes. Both the materials and the workmanship of main contractors M.F. Astley Construction Ltd and their sub contractors have resulted in a sterling job with no leaks reported to date!


The Te Akoranga playcentre at Swanson replaces the earlier facility which had been found to contain asbestos. The building is expressed as a simple domestically scaled pavilion presenting an open, transparent and welcoming face to the community. Glazed sectional garage doors open to the north and provide a seamless transition between indoors and out.  The light filled open plan interior is divided into play and activity zones by means of level change and differentiation in floor and ceiling treatment.

0.55 BMT Zincalume® Dimond Styleline was specified for the roofing and cladding is Zincalume® Corrugate. The silver spangle effect of the Zincalume® contrasts effectively with the warmth of stained cedar and ply panelling and the primary coloured suspended boxes which form the wide window box seat and the office. Zincalume® end caps on the cantilevered exposed rafters protect the end grain and articulate the roof line.


Swanson Primary school is located on the long strip development on Swanson road and was characterised by typical 1950’s school design - long grey weatherboard blocks turning their backs on the road.  Pride of place on the street and close to the hard-to-find entrance was a large boiler house!  The school lacked identity and signature. The brief was to address this by stitching a new entrance and staff area into and around the existing staff toilets, brick office block, main switchboard etc.

The resulting new glazed entry foyer provides a light and bright node around which all the administrative functions revolve. The architectural composition comprises a number of discrete elements expressed to present a colourful, fun and funky image in direct contrast to the adjacent buildings. 

The sides and ceiling of the upper roof and the round cylinder enclosing the existing main switchboard are clad in "baby" corrugated Zincalume® which accords with the small scale of the building. This product met with such enthusiasm that new custom-made office furniture commissioned by the school included sides and various panels in the same material!  The "baby Corrugate" profile was manufactured in 2.4m long sheets. End joints were carefully arranged to coincide with glazing mullions and incorporated a small negatively detailed aluminium channel to finish to.

Although the new entrance took some getting used to by Swanson locals, everyone agrees that at least drivers on the Swanson strip cannot now miss the school!

Remuera Intermediate School

Architect: Armstrong Summers Architects
Main Contractor: M.F. Astley
Structural Engineer: Chambers Consultants
Mechanical Engineer:
Brian Smith
Electrical Engineer:
Peter Kofoed
Project Managers:
Hughes Hill & Co.

Swanson Playcentre Association
Architect: Armstrong Summers Architects Ltd
Main Contractor: Backhouse Smith Builders
Structural Engineer: Chambers Consultants

Swanson Primary School
Architect: Armstrong Summers Architects Ltd.
Jeff Armstrong:Neil Summers
Tel:  (09) 379 3171
Fax: (09) 379 3191
Main Contractor: Alliance Construction
Structural Engineer:
Harris Foster Associates
Quantity Surveyor: Page Kirkland Ltd