Buchan Architects and McKenzie & Co. Work Together on Stubbs Farm Project

At a Glance


  • Tight deadlines
  • Design changes required
  • Steeply sloping site with overland flow paths


  • Excellent project management has ensured deadlines have been met whilst work completed remains at a high level of quality
  • Quality land development advice and documentation meant the tendering process was completed with ease

The Architect

Buchan is an acclaimed global architecture, interior, masterplanning and brand-experience studio with distinction in retail, commercial, mixed-use, residential, hotels and hospitality. A global team of 250 design experts operate across studios in Australia, New Zealand and China. For 130 years, Buchan has delivered assets of enduring architectural quality and magnitude, worldwide with their extensive portfolio spanning boutique, intimate settings through to large-scale buildings and urbanscapes.

The Project

The bulk of the land (approximately 50 hectares) at Stubbs Farm in Warkworth is zoned for housing, light industry, business, retail, parks and recreation, plus a network of proposed roads and pedestrian and cycle connections. A retirement village may be added to the mix. The property was purchased in December 2021 by a joint venture called The Neighbourhood North Limited (TNN) with most of the land to be used for housing. The housing and additional commercial facilities presented by this development will add significant growth and opportunity to Warkworth.

Stage 1 of the development covers a 6.1-hectare area and includes the intersection upgrade of Falls Road and Mansel Drive as well as a proposed stormwater treatment device and wastewater pump station which is on land owned by Auckland Council. The site is moderately to steeply sloped (20 metres from top to bottom) with overland flow paths on the site, draining into a tributary before joining the Mahurangi River to the southeast.

The Process

McKenzie & Co. worked on the integrated design of Stage 1 of the Stubbs Farm project, carrying out engineering design, Land Transfer surveying for new titles and 223c application to Council, civil construction site works tendering/observations and resource consent application facilitation.

The first challenge presented itself when tight deadlines loomed. Whilst designing the floor levels for the site, McKenzie & Co. ensured that there was immediate communication with the Buchan team and urgent action undertaken where this was required (such as with the updating of engineering designs). This ensured that strict timelines were adhered to, allowing the next phases of the project to proceed as scheduled.

A further challenge emerged when the urban design team requested changes to the profile view of the houses from the street. Buchan placed significant importance on this as well as how the structures would interact with their surroundings.

McKenzie & Co. provided a solution for the Buchan team – creating extra room for the houses to be slightly angled, by rearranging the road layout (while still maintaining the number of lots).

The Result

During this project, McKenzie & Co. have been able to develop an excellent working relationship built on trust, with Buchan tapping into the expertise of James Dufty (one of McKenzie & Co’s Directors), and expert team members Chris Mellican, Haka Subagio, Scott McIntyre and Maki Okamoto.

Rob Guild, Buchan’s Auckland Principal says “Buchan like working with partners and building long term relationships. McKenzie & Co. continue to be a great partner. By working with McKenzie & Co. we have been able to grow our relationship with, and improve the delivery, for our client. A great team, working on great projects, equals great outcomes.”

To find out more about our services and how we can help, get in touch with the team.