The building forms the urban edge to the Mt Eden precinct and the Mt Eden domain. Once part of an industrial precinct, it is being transformed as city fringe residential.
The site is zoned Mixed Use and is currently occupied by a commercial warehouse which sits at the back of the site, with off street parking at the front. The site is bounded by a commercial warehouse to the south, a comprehensive mixed used development to the west and a large commercial development to the north. Mount Eden domain and Auckland hockey fields are located directly across Normanby Road.
The prominent corner location, proximity to Mount Eden domain and the diverse surrounding building typology are fundamental to the design philosophy.
The architectural concept was to form a distinct and vibrant street edge to Normanby Road and a softer, landscaped edge to Edwin Street. The prominent corner is pivotal in the design and forms a lively focal point to the design with a layered glass entry, cantilevered frames over and scoria walls leading the residents and visitors into the site.
From the point of arrival, a lobby is provided to allow a pause point, both coming and going, and from a CPTED point of view overlooks the street and entry.
On moving into the building, the residents traverse across and along a long landscaped courtyard that provides a buffer between the rear car parking and the apartments facing the street. The courtyard then opens to the light above and the main landscape courtyard to second floor. The courtyard forms the main pedestrian route across the site, and is variously open and closed to the light well, the central courtyard and the northern gap through the buildings. The smaller residential entry on Edwin Street, intersects this route and is open to both the North and to the East on upper levels, providing views, lights and points of interest along the journey. Conceptually this courtyard is seen as the ‘forest floor’ and is densely landscaped with native fauna such as ferns, titoki, kowhai and lancewoods.
An attractive series of visually unfolding circulation pathways in and around the buildings to create an interesting and varied movement through the site taking advantage of natural amenities such as the Mt Eden domain to the east and the Waitakere ranges to the West. The building is a synergy of modern landscape design and architecture, that work together to enhance the respective disciplines.
The Mount Eden domain to the East forms an important part of the design philosophy. The building clearly addresses this important reserve, with both residential apartments above and a lively street edge at ground floor, with a proposed commercial use. The architecture embraces modern technology at this point utilising floor to ceiling glass and layering it with green tinted balustrades, aluminium frames and vertical timber look louvres. These follow the curve of the street and a modern interpretation of the pa fencing, once prominent on the domain. The architecture to Edwin Street is softer at ground floor with landscaped courtyards addressing the street and a layered but less tranpsparent building over, reflective of the surrounding streetscape and restricted view corridors along Edwin Street.
The elevated courtyard to the rear completes the design and provides an opportunity for the building to fold around the site, effectively not providing a rear elevation to the building. This provides amenity within the site, in the form of a green adaptable and interactive space. This is for the benefit of the residents and their visitors and completes the vista from Mount Eden Road. It is envisioned that this space will provide an iconic and animated urban experience.
Colour selection needed to be bright but to reflect the natural and historic edge that it faces. The exterior uses natural earthy tones of brown, grey and black, using Resene Ironsand, Resene Double Concrete and Resene Nero, against a receding backdrop of Resene Black White to reflect light into the centre of the building and to provide indoor outdoor flow between interior and exterior. Resene Concrete reflects its adjoining neighbour and echoes the use of concrete in the adjoining industrial area.
The building is entered on the Normanby and Edwin Street, through a rock lava wall reflective of the adjoining reserve. LED feature lights divide the wall and vary across a range of multiple colour selections that represent the flow of lava that at one time flowed across the site. This is set against a large concrete feature wall with clear sealer and white walls to the interior of the building.
The interior walkways are pulled away from the building to provide light to the lower level apartment and Resene Black White was used to provide reflection and light against the backdrop off a natural native forest bed, that the residents walk through on arrival. In time this will extend up the wires to the upper levels of the walkways. The windows and entryways are punched against this with black Resene Nero trims and Resene Concrete used to delineate the entries to the apartments.
The interiors follow this same methodology with the use of multiple shades and Resene White Pointer used against natural and stained oak cabinetry with cararra and limestone bathrooms. Service areas are painted in Resene Quarter White Pointer and Resene Half White Pointer.
The use of colour complements the architecture and provides an embracing backdrop for its residents on the city fringe of Auckland.
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