the master quarter

A design philosophy that emphasises pedestrians over vehicles allows Melview Developments' Beaumont Quarter to set a benchmark for Auckland's urban design
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A view of the quality designed apartment complexes that the Auckland urban design policy is focussed on

Anyone familiar with British DIY advertising will know that "you can do it if you B&Q it". Well, give or take an ampersand, that's pretty much the message for future medium-density projects in New Zealand, as Beaumont Quarter, or BQ, has been adopted by the national Urban Design Protocol to showcase best practice in urban design. The project is now recognised as a benchmark for medium-density development throughout New Zealand.

The former gas works site, strategically located at the axis of Ponsonby and the Viaduct, yet bordered by a derelict building and the edge of a cliff, demanded a high-quality design approach. This approach first led Melview's Nigel McKenna and his design team to the top of the Sky Tower, from where an aerial photograph provided an insight as to how they could fill the space in a manner sensitive to its heritage and environment.


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A view of the quality designed apartment complexes that the Auckland urban design policy is focussed on

Armed with this bird's eye view, McKenna, together with a team of architects, embarked on a tour of ten European cities, heading as far north as Helsinki, for inspiration as to how to make best use of the site. The result is literally a secret garden of mixed-use space, evolving from the exposed brick style of the fully restored heritage building through to ultra-contemporary Cliff Hanger residences at its far end.

This evolution in material, allied to a monochromatic colour palette interrupted only by a singular splash of colour on each of the three stages, serves to create the domino effect' advocated by Ludo Campbell-Reid. Equally important in avoiding the sterility of uniformity was the engagement of three different architects for the individual stages.

A view of the quality designed apartment complexes apartment, architecture, building, corporate headquarters, facade, home, house, mixed use, neighbourhood, property, real estate, residential area, black, white
A view of the quality designed apartment complexes that the Auckland urban design policy is focussed on

Studio Pacific Architecture's overall masterplan places all garaging underground, with any traces concealed by strategically-placed flora and landscaping. Defined by its variant mix of two and three-storey housing, open spaces, interesting sightlines of the city and inter-connecting walkways, Beaumont Quarter comprises 300 units a total that could have been as high as 1400 were it not for the developer's commitment to urban design.

And just to confirm the synergy between good design and dividend, prices for the residential units have increased dramatically since initial sales the first two-bedroom units, released in 2004, by up to $200,000.

Apr 06, 2007
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