About Us

What is Third Place Thinking™️?

It is the place between home and work that we come to for some social interaction.

It is the safe accessible place that we feel we can come, we can better ourselves and we can learn from each other.

But how do we connect the Sports and the Architecture? Can we create an opportunity for connecting more sports and organisations?

Third Place came from the writer of The Great Good Place (Third Places) – Ray Oldenburg – out of post-war, mid-century USA; developed off the platform that Americans were looking for something more to life. Oldenburg characterises Third Places as both neutral and inclusive social centres.

For Third Place Thinking™️ Founder Dion Gosling was reminded of it when approached to prepare a presentation to the World Stadium and Arena Congress in Sydney in 2016. He was asked to explore the role of community facilities, as they related to stadia and arena design. It was when researching the topic that he was reminded of the concept of Third Places – the idea of an ‘in-between’ place.

Third Place Thinking™ is the ideology Dion uses when planning his Sports + Recreation Architecture projects – looking at how we converge, that place where we provide supportive, sustainable, and safe environments for our families and friends. Dion’s designs are not solely about the structure, they are about what they can provide to the community.

Dion Gosling

Principal Architect | Director

Dion grew up in rural South Auckland. He would sprint to primary school when training for cross-country runs and dash out to the shed for hockey sticks when frost was on the fields in Ardmore. He revelled in the freedom of unenclosed spaces and the close-knit community. These values continue to inform his work, even after shifting to North Auckland, international travel representing New Zealand as an Olympic hockey player in the Black Sticks and relocating to Ponsonby.

His familiarity with urban and rural settings throughout Auckland and his background in sports have refined his eye for residential buildings and community sports facilities. He strongly feels that form should always follow function, and consistently endeavours to design buildings that encourage a sense of community through structure.

“Having an intimate understanding about the subtleties of how people move within spaces, their energy and their activity, and how they utilise each area, is crucial to any kind of design.”

The Papatoetoe Sports Centre was a fascinating challenge for these reasons. It required areas for a variety of sports, indoor centres, a bistro and offices for administrators. Dion pushed for a future-proof, sustainable design that opened up the entire structure. This open flow gave the diverse range of members a sense of the different activities throughout the space and fostered a shared culture.

“It was really about peeling the building open and eliminating all the disengaged spaces so everyone had a sense of access. Architecture is about growing communities as well as constructing a building itself.”

For Dion, it’s the intricacy of spaces, history, scale, community, engagement and the individuals which are central in each project, particularly through Third Place Thinking™. It’s about working in an unenclosed creative space with tightly-knit team players. Even with precise insight into the most functional and elegant way to design sports and community facilities, residential buildings and airports, Dion’s still invested in a collaborative process.

NZCAD | B.Arch (Hons) (UNITEC)
Registered Architect:
Accredited Recreation Professional (ARPro) Recreation Aotearoa (NZ)
International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IKAS)

Design & Practice Director
Overall Project Delivery
Community Legacy Projects
Feasibility & Masterplanning
Brief Development
Multi-Stakeholder Engagement
Site Observation & Administration
Key Project Areas
Multisports & Shared Sportsville Hubs
Recreation, Leisure
Community & Education Facilities
Strategic Planning & Feasibility
Sports Masterplanning & Urban Design

New Plymouth Multisport Hub Masterplan, Taranaki, NZ
Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub Masterplan & Stage I, Christchurch, NZ
QBE Stadium Refurbishment and High Performance Training Centre, Albany, NZ
Queenstown Events Centre & Wanaka Recreation Centre Masterplan, NZ
Akarana (Hyundai) Marine Sports Centre, Auckland, NZ
Fraser Park Sportsville, Wellington, NZ
Dunsandel Community Centre, Selwyn District, NZ
Hamilton East Sports and Community Centre, Hamilton, NZ
Scott Point Sustainable Sports Park, Auckland, NZ
Karekare Surf Club, Auckland, NZ

Annie Salter - Third Place Thinking



Annie, as Co-Founder of Third Place Thinking™, is an experienced Digital Marketing, PR, Comms + Events Specialist who works in the background and will be the person you most likely liaise with. She has a demonstrated history of working across various industries, including design and events, fashion and sales, HR and recruitment.

Annie is passionate about Third Place Thinking™️ and the impact that it can have on our communities. As a mother of two boys, Annie values the safe haven sport and community facilities can provide for young and impressionable people.

Third Place Thinking™️ not merely about the four walls in design but that inclusive place between work and home.



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