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Quattro Maison Apartments

Corner Hanson and Drummond Streets, Newtown

Unpretentious, bold and quirky are some of the adjectives gleaned from the public since completion.

Apartment entry

Located in Newtown on the corner of Drummond and Hanson Street, this site is close to the regional hospital, the Basin Reserve, numerous secondary and tertiary educational facitilies and within walking distance of Wellington’s main entertainment area, Courtenay Place.

The project was conceived as four linked buildings, hence the name. This cruciform plan and a unique site bordered on three sides by streets facilitated the challenge of getting natural light and ventilation into all bedrooms and living areas. This basic amenity was the driving force behind the plan, form and apartment layout.

Suburban centre planning rules allow a maximum height of 12 metres and 100% site coverage. A site of 714 square metres yielded 32 mainly two bedroom apartments and 28 car parks. This was achieved by using a highly efficient cruciform plan circulation system tying together the common passage area, stair, lift and entry resulting in only 22% of the total floor area being used for circulation.

Colourful apartment block exterior

A tight budget stripped the original scheme of roof gardens, trees and vines but this was countered by an adventurous colour scheme which successfully distinguishes the building and assists in emphasising the ‘four buildings’. Colour is also celebrated with the use of blue LED lights in the entrance and corridors and lime green in the lift surround that create an ethereal glow to the interior in the twilight and at night.

Along Hanson Street the façade sets up a rhythm of solid and void with the tall proportioned ‘towers’ and recessed balconies emphasised by strong vibrant ‘tower’ colours and recessive grey balconies. By expressing the joints in the inexpensive compressed fibre cement board exterior cladding a secondary rhythm defines the individual apartments and further breaks down the scale of the building.

Colourful apartment entry

The apartment interiors benefit from the generous natural light levels and spectacular views of the hills and suburbs around Newtown provided by large windows to the north, east and west. Unlike many recent apartment buildings all bedrooms have their own window to the exterior for natural light and ventilation. Most of the apartments have two bathrooms and separate laundries which again distinguishes them from the mainstream.

A valuable process during the construction documentation phase of the project was regular meetings between the client, design team and main contractor to discuss the aspects of ‘constructability’ and budget. Consequently, despite a period when building costs were rising continuously, the project was completed on time and within budget resulting in a very happy developer and contractor.

Unpretentious, bold and quirky are some of the adjectives gleaned from the public since completion.

Colours used: Resene Alabaster, Resene Crowshead, Resene Guru, Resene Norwester, Resene Raven, Resene Rhapsody, Resene Topspin.

Products used: Resene Sonyx 101, Resene Woodsman.

Architectural Specifier: Paul Kerr-Hislop, Art + Architecture and Gus Watt, Watt Architects
Building Contractor: ASPEC Construction Ltd
Colour Selection: Paul Kerr-Hislop and Gus Watt
Painting Contractor: Paul Reddish Decorators
Photographer: Grant Sheeham
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2010

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