First real project wins

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

JUNO Huang and Wendy Zheng’s first ‘‘real’’ ar­chi­tec­ture project is go­ing to be made into a re­al­ity.

The 23 and 22-year-old grad­u­ates have taken out a stu­dent com­pe­ti­tion run by the Rangi­marie Trust to de­sign a new model of ac­com­mo­da­tion for el­derly peo­ple in Opotiki, in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

And they were up against some tough com­pe­ti­tion, in­clud­ing masters’ stu­dents at the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land.

Cen­tral city res­i­dent Huang says the win was a real sur­prise.

The part­ners only had a cou­ple of days to come up with the con­cept around hours of study and work and built the model in just one night, she says.

‘‘It’s a real project – it’s ac­tu­ally go­ing to be built. It’s re­ally a chance for us to get in­sight into the ca­reer.

‘‘This com­pe­ti­tion is the first real project we did re­lated to the build­ing code. We used to do de­sign work with­out con­sid­er­ing other things like that, with no bound­aries.’’

Zheng wants to go to Opotiki to watch the con­struc­tion process. It is ex­cit­ing to see the plans come to life, she says.

‘‘It will be won­der­ful, fan­tas­tic.

‘‘From a young age I loved drawing and designing things. I loved cre­at­ing my own stuff when I was young and, for the fu­ture, ar­chi­tec­ture is quite a good ca­reer for me.’’

The Rangi­marie Trust was es­tab­lished in 1979 to pro­vide low-cost rental ac­com­mo­da­tion for el­derly peo­ple.

It owns a block of land with 12 units in Opotiki and has re­cently pur­chased more land for devel­op­ment.

The trust ap­proached Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land se­nior lec­turer Bill McKay to co­or­di­nate a com­pe­ti­tion with his ar­chi­tec­ture stu­dents to fill the new site.

The brief in­cluded spe­cific needs such as ac­cess ramps, so­lar heat­ing, raised floors to pre­vent flood­ing, wider doors for wheel­chairs and a max­i­mum bud­get of $90,000 per unit.

McKay says Zheng and Huang’s de­signs were ex­actly what the trust was look­ing for.

‘‘It was grat­i­fy­ing to see young un­der­grad­u­ates come up with such a good de­sign.

‘‘Apart from nail­ing the re­quire­ments of the brief, they also pro­duced a de­sign sen­si­tive to the church next door that will add to the town­scape val­ues of Opotiki by cre­at­ing a nice lit­tle com­mu­nity precinct.’’

The Rangi­marie Trust

is now look­ing for fund­ing to help achieve the next stage of the project.

Top team: Juno Huang and Wendy Zheng in front of their hous­ing de­sign model for Opotiki, in the Bay of Plenty.

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