Dress circle

This apartment development has been designed to maximise views of the harbour, city and nearby park, and to be sensitive to the surrounding neighbourhood

Story by: Mary Webb
View of apartment living room with carpeted flooring, floor, flooring, home, interior design, living room, property, real estate, room, gray, white
View of apartment living room with carpeted flooring, furnishings, recessed lighting, fireplace.

When a large piece of land in a well-known and highly visible part of the city becomes available for redevelopment, the new owner and project architect have a joint responsibility to design a building that takes best advantage of the site and looks appropriate to the area, both close up and from a distance.

So when architect Colin Leuschke was asked to design an apartment complex for the site once occupied by the White Heron Hotel at Point Resolution above the Parnell Baths in Auckland, he took it very seriously. The site, at the end of one of the city's top residential streets, is highly visible from Tamaki Drive.

"I felt it was important for our design to maximise the views and sun, work with the scale and style of homes in the rest of the street and continue to look good for many years to come," he says.

Leuschke decided on a concept that included two buildings on opposing axes. One building runs east to west across the site, while the other is on a north-to- south axis. This design creates a volume, in the form of a central drum, between the two buildings, which provides a driveway and turning circle, parking for visitors' cars and, equally importantly, ensures maximum light into each apartment. And, by angling the two buildings in different directions, every apartment gains its own individual aspect. All enjoy views of the harbour, some have outlooks towards the city and others look over Point Resolution and Hobson Bay.


Exterior view of a Parnell apartment complex which apartment, architecture, building, condominium, estate, facade, home, house, mixed use, neighbourhood, property, real estate, residential area, window, gray, white
Exterior view of a Parnell apartment complex which features balconies with glass balustrades, joinery, hardware, composite cladding, louvres.

The siting of the drum also creates a degree of separation between this new complex and the apartments next door, ensuring the privacy of both is respected as much as possible.

"Because of the location of the site at the end of a residential road, we considered that most visitors were likely to arrive by car. Visitors drive through the main gates into the drum where parking is provided. This creates a positive and welcoming sense of arrival," says the architect.

A different, more intimate pedestrian entrance, meanders from the street along paths and gardens, ensuring those arriving on foot have an equally enjoyable first experience of the apartments. The entry lobbies of both buildings are also accessed from the drum. Residents drive on down to their own parking areas discreetly located beneath each block.

Because of the slope of the site, the two buildings were designed so they do not appear out of scale with the largely two-storey residential homes lining the rest of the street. From the footpath, only two levels of the four-storey buildings are visible.

Image of architectural plans of a Parnell apartment angle, area, design, diagram, drawing, floor plan, line, plan, product design, white
Image of architectural plans of a Parnell apartment complex designed by Leuschke Group Architects.

"We deliberately designed the apartments to capture the gentility of the neighbourhood. While the buildings have substance and stature once you are inside the property, from the street they appear to be built on a similar scale to neighbouring homes," says Leuschke.

Each of the 21 apartments in the complex has been individually designed to respond to its location within the buildings, with extensive glazing on the seaward side to ensure views and sunlight are maximised. On most levels there are four apartments, each laid out with living areas and master bedrooms facing the views, and kitchens, bathrooms, second and third bedrooms layered towards the back of the apartments. However, because of the overall design of the site, with the drum behind the buildings, these spaces also have good access to light, sun and views.

Jul 08, 2009

Credit list

Architect
Colin Leuschke, Alister Kitchen ANZIA,
Development manager
Travis Coffey
Construction
Dominion Constructors
Mechanical and electrical engineer
Gerhardt Furter
Landscaping
Trudy Crerar
Windows and doors
Phoenix Aluminium
Air conditioning
First Mechanical
Floor coverings
Comfloor
Kitchen and laundry cabinetry
Composite cladding
Symonite Industries
Louvres
Sunshield Louvres
Joinery
Jones and Sandford
Precast stairs and wall panels
Stresscrete (Northern)
Fire protection
Triangle Fire Protection
Developer
Equinox Capital
Interior designer
Martin Hughes
Civil engineer
Rob Foster, Harris Foster Consulting
Quantity surveyor
WT Partnership
Fire consultant
Frank McCalliff, Chester Consultants
Glass balustrade
Glass Projects
Blockwork
AJ Russell Bricklayers
Structural steel
Airdrie Engineering
Tiling
Y Not Tiling
Fireplaces
The Fire Place
Metalwork
Stainless Welders
Interspan ribs and unispan flat slabs
Formstress
Electrical services
Caldwell and Levesque
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