Smart so­lu­tion

Af­ford­able in­ner-city liv­ing done well

HOME Magazine NZ - - Contents - Text — Cather­ine Smith Pho­tog­ra­phy — Sam Hart­nett

The heart of Pon­sonby is not the first place you’d think of for af­ford­able hous­ing, let alone one that’s dense, fine-grained, walk­a­ble – all those magic words used in ur­ban de­sign. But Taka­puna-based Le­gacy Prop­erty was drawn to Vine­gar Lane, an in­no­va­tive de­vel­op­ment on the 1.3-hectare hole on the site of the for­mer DYC vine­gar fac­tory, where var­ied ar­chi­tec­ture on small sites re­flects the charm of the old neigh­bour­hood. “We wanted to have a slightly dif­fer­ent build­ing at a more af­ford­able price point that wasn’t avail­able in Pon­sonby be­fore,” says Le­gacy’s Mitchell Jef­fer­son, of the cor­ner site, which forms a sort of en­trance to the precinct. “Other projects were sell­ing at north of $1 mil­lion, ours started at $499,000, top­ping out at $679,000.” He pauses. “We sold out in three months.” This didn’t mean com­pro­mis­ing on de­sign. Le­gacy called on Nick Dal­ton of Toa Ar­chi­tects, who was fa­mil­iar with the de­vel­op­ment, and briefed him to cre­ate a wel­com­ing en­try to the precinct, and to make them both com­pact and stylish. And he also had to bring in light to the apart­ments that are not north fac­ing. Dal­ton’s re­sponse was to split the block into two façades; the lower one half a level be­low the main cor­ner mass. Each of the four storeys has a gen­er­ous 2.7-me­tre stud and glass en­try doors are used where nec­es­sary to en­hance the feel­ing of space in the 20 apart­ments, which are be­tween 54 and 74 square me­tres. Bal­conies, walls and sof­fits are clad in tim­ber, a soft con­trast to the in­dus­trial gal­vanised steel balustrades, while the struc­ture of the build­ing is made from in-situ con­crete and steel form­work, a new-to-New Zealand method. The glass­fronted com­mer­cial space is tucked into the cor­ner slope, open and lively to the street but shel­tered into the ground. Garag­ing is min­i­mal, as be­fits a walk­a­ble and tran­sit-heavy neigh­bour­hood. The key to the de­sign was the façade, an an­i­mated and un­du­lat­ing se­ries of geo­met­ric glass and zinc pan­els. Coloured and frosted de­signs re­call tāniko pat­terns, rep­re­sent­ing pātiki (floun­der), for pros­per­ity. Dal­ton says it also sym­bol­ises that the res­i­dents are per­haps a part of some­thing greater than a stack of bricks and mor­tar. The build­ing meets Homes­tar 6 rat­ing, a re­quire­ment in all Le­gacy build­ings – some­thing which de­lights Dal­ton. “We were com­pletely aligned. They’d seen our other Homes­tar 6 work, and took a chance. We’ve made a pledge that we con­trib­ute things that are beau­ti­ful – and this does that.”

Project Aria Apart­ments Ar­chi­tect Toa Ar­chi­tects Lo­ca­tion Pon­sonby, Auck­land Brief Af­ford­able in­ner-city liv­ing on a chal­leng­ing pocket of land. 1 —Geo­met­ric pan­els of glass and zinc make up the façade, mak­ing an en­gag­ing en­counter with the street. 2 —A tim­ber wrapped bal­cony faces east to the city.

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