Commuters heading into Auckland have sped past an undeveloped, unremarkable area of Parnell for years with no pedestrian links and no railway station, there has never been a need to stop.
But the potential of the city fringe location the site of the former Carlaw Park stadium facilities, is undisputed. The site borders the leafy green Auckland Domain, is close to the Parnell retail centre, the University of Auckland and key arterial routes, including motorways and rail links.
Joint venture developers McDougall Reidy and Haydn & Rollett Construction, who had already developed other parts of the site, commissioned Warren and Mahoney to design new community-oriented student accommodation for the University of Auckland.
Design architect Shannon Joe says the vision for the Carlaw Park Student Village was not just about meeting the immediate needs of the students. It was also about a wider vision for the city.
"For so long this part of Grafton-Parnell has been disconnected from the city centre, with pedestrian links severed by the Grafton Gully motorway. We envisaged this development opening up a new corridor leading to Parnell Road, the future railway station and the Domain in one direction, and the university in the other."
The four buildings in the village are consequently arranged along this axis, providing passive surveillance for the pedestrian route, which is open, by day, to the public as well as residents. The key circulation routes also form courtyard-style gathering spaces for the students.