This Housing New Zealand Corporation project provides housing for the elderly on a flagship site off Ladies Mile in Ellerslie. We won the contract in a national competition in 2003 – and over the next four years several schemes were produced with the final current building mass and configuration being determined by committee which included the client, local authority, neighbours, legal representatives and planning consultants.
The resultant unit layout was also determined by the client’s internal advisers after a much looser and occupant driven proposal was rejected due to internal policy controls.
The palette of materials is rigorously robust and monotone - providing a rich tapestry of textures and forms which are assembled to create a secure environment for living. Honed concrete blocks form a grid between units and panels of textured and smooth precast concrete alternate with wall to wall and floor to ceiling aluminium joinery. Balcony and access gallery treatments vary and animate the buildings to ensure privacy and individuality. The colourful occupants add life to the structure which ranges in shades of black through to white.
Effective landscaping focuses on private areas which extend to public spaces, ultimately providing trees to shade parking, and an axial focus on community and occupant interaction along the pedestrian accessway which links the site to the main road facilities.
The project was delivered on time and under budget, and has sparked policy debate on the apparent level at which social housing should be provided.
We however maintain our philosophy that good design is both accessible and affordable against all perceived odds.