An award-winning Auckland-based architectural practice has opened a branch in Havelock North, in the very same building they designed.
RTA Studio, who have been shortlisted in the World Architecture Festival 10 years in a row, have moved into the shared workspace on Joll Rd.
The mixed-use commercial, retail and hospitality development recently won an award in the Commercial Category at the NZIA 2020 Gisborne and Hawke's Bay Architecture Awards.
RTA Studio founder Richard Naish said making the move to Hawke's Bay was a logical decision.
"We currently have five active projects spanning various typologies in Hawke's Bay, so establishing a base here was a natural progression," he said.
Architect David Wright, who runs local operations, said he jumped at the chance to relocate to the region.
"I've had a long-standing passion for Hawke's Bay through working in the vineyards as a student and attending sporting events, so had already fallen in love with the place when this opportunity came up," he said.
"Young professionals who are moving here for that work-life balance are looking for something that meets their needs, but we are also excited to be able to contribute to the commercial realm and to work with district councils to build great public spaces and craft a community legacy."
Wright added: "There's the coffee roastery, a Japanese bar and restaurant and Alessandros which, according to food critic Jesse Mulligan, serves New Zealand's best pizza."
RTA Studio employed a network of pedestrianised laneways to run between the buildings in an attempt to "evolve and extend the high street", said Naish.
"It's a lively, activated zone that knits together the CBD with the residential neighbourhood on its fringe.
"RTA has always enjoyed working throughout New Zealand as it gives us the chance to engage in contextual architecture that responds to regional differences."
Naish said while Hawke's Bay has seen recent growth, its capacity is still under-played.
"Once the world comes through the Covid-19 crisis, there is so much more potential to explore in business, and the tourism and food and wine industry. To play our part in that will be a privilege."