There are advantages to developing the last available site in a dense urban area. There are no surprises in terms of the neighbouring buildings, and the view can never be built out.
But that doesn't mean a project is not challenging, especially when the site is steep, long and narrow, and surrounded by apartment buildings from a different era, as was this case with this site in a sought-after suburb close to the city.
Designer Paul Izzard says the site had languished for more than a decade, after the original plans for two townhouses were put on hold. The floor slab and basement were built, but the work had not progressed any further. Izzard was commissioned by a new developer to complete the design.
"With property prices at a premium in this suburb, it was essential to maximise every square inch of the site," the designer says. "This helped to dictate the shape of the building, as did the need to comply with local government regulations that had changed considerably over the 10 years. It was like working with a 3-D version of the height-to-boundary restrictions. Key views to the harbour and volcano summits needed to be retained from various points, not just from the site."
Izzard says all these factors meant the building acquired a monolithic form that needed to be minimised visually.
"Introducing contrasting materials and interesting textural elements was a way to reduce the building's visual impact. Vertical black-stained cedar boards are teamed with a natural stone tile.