Multifaceted approach An innovatively designed development by Leuschke Group

An innovatively designed development by Leuschke Group

Story by: Justin Foote
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View of exterior with white and wall walls.

It's a common sight in most modern cities the inner-city suburb that has risen and fallen in fortune over the years.

Such suburbs, having played the role of first settlement-cum-commercial centre, often fell into dereliction as new city centres established themselves, only to emerge from the ashes as desirable destinations once more.

The mix of light industrial, residential, historic and contemporary lend these areas a very eclectic vibe, both architecturally and socially.

The Auckland suburb of Parnell is all of these, so it is not surprising that architects Leuschke Group chose to draw from multiple inspirations for the design of a four-property development at the heart of the suburb, says director Colin Leuschke.

"Surprisingly, for such an established suburb, this particular site was bare. However, it did come with some strange zoning, including use as a car park, as it is situated within a mixed area of light industrial and residential."

The site also carried a public easement for pedestrian right-of-way access to the main road.

"Further compounding these issues was the very small road frontage. The property is surrounded on three sides, and most of the fourth, by other buildings. Coupled with the need for public access, it was obvious that a high-level of privacy was going to have to be built into the design," says Leuschke.


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View of kitchen with white island and stools, wooden flooring and black dining table with white seats.

At the lower end of the site, and separated from the other structure by the driveway, is a free-standing townhouse.

"As with most sites there were the usual planning constraints around site cover and height-to-boundary controls to consider, as well as the actual site topography. The form then had to find a context within these parameters while still offering the amenity of a family home.

"Externally, we were guided by the surrounding light industrial buildings and existing houses. The material palette of aluminium composite panels and block work imparts a kind of warehouse, or slightly industrial, aesthetic acting as a transition between the two types of neighbouring buildings."

The three-storey property comprises three bedrooms on the ground floor, living area on the mid-level, and a master suite on the top floor.

"The upper level features an inclined roof line, which satisfies the height-to-boundary limitations. To offset this, the floor plate is cantilevered over the driveway and enclosed within a panelled facade, giving it a folded, sculptural appearance."

This is a visual device employed on the site's second structure a block of three terraced houses, says Leuschke Group associate Alister Kitchen.

"The site was originally slated for an apartment block-style development comprising five apartments with an underground parking facility.

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View of bathroom with black tiled walls and contemporary oval tub.

"However, a decision was made early on in the design process to do away with that concept and create something that would inject a sense of individuality and create a better living environment within the dwellings," says Kitchen.

Each of the terraces offers a different floor plan, but all have been oriented to provide secluded outdoor spaces and for good light penetration into their interiors.

"Establishing a sense of privacy was paramount," says Kitchen. "Not just in the sense of screening the homes externally, but also creating a hierarchy of public and private spaces within.

"Balcony spaces flow from the living areas. These spaces lie within the building envelope, giving them a level of privacy not usually associated with open spaces."

Walled courtyards offer even more solitude, while devices such as operable privacy screens and landscaping help to soften the industrial aesthetic.

Inside, the industrial feel gives way entirely to a more relaxed, domestic feel. Timber floors and slatted elements augment the material palette, adding warmth and texture to the scheme.

"The colour palette remains the same as externally a mix of darks and neutrals, while the combination of gloss and matte finishes, and the play of light across their surfaces add visual interest. Comfort and amenity go hand-in-hand, spaces have been designed to flow easily into each other and the windows are either east or north-east facing oriented towards the residential aspect. While the complexities of the site were many, nothing ultimately limited the outcome everything worked out how we envisaged," says Kitchen.

May 11, 2012

Credit list

Interior designer
Leuschke Group Ltd, Thao Nguyen
Kitchen designer
Leuschke Group Ltd
Landscape designer
Sue McLean, McLean Landscapes
Roofing
Colorcote corrugated longrun roofing from The Roofing Specialists
Flooring
Top Deck Bamboo Flooring
Lighting
Lightplan
Skylights
Velux
Fireplace
The Fireplace
Benchtops
Zealand Quartz
Kitchen sink
Ariane by Franke
Oven and cooktop
Fisher & Paykel, available from Kitchen Things
Refrigeration and dishwasher
Fisher & Paykel, available from Kitchen Things
Builder
Scarbro Construction
Kitchen manufacturer
Cabtec
Cladding
Concrete blockwork; aluminium composite panels from Symonite New Zealand
Tiling
European Ceramics
Wall coverings
Resene
Doors and windows
Fletcher Aluminium from Rylock
Window and door hardware
Fletcher Aluminium from Rylock
Kitchen cabinetry
Laminex LPL in Burnished Wood with Flint finish
Splashback
White Ice tempered glass
Taps
Robertson Agencies
Microwave
Panasonic
Waste disposal
InSinkErator, available from Kitchen Things
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