The small, elevated section, bounded to the North by a railway embankment and far views of the Karangahape Road ridgeline, is an ideal place for denser residential infill because of pedestrian proximity to Auckland’s CBD and the nightlife of the Ponsonby ridgelines.
Two alternative competition strategies were proposed for increasing the density and enhancing the broader amenity of the Kingsland neighbourhood.
Design Strategy 1: Optimising the confines of the small Okram site (321m2)
A six-storey building provides 25 affordable (and therefore smaller) live/work spaces grouped along a common elevated ‘street’ providing the community with sun and views on each level. Each space has service connections for bathrooms and kitchen and can be planned in one of three modes:
Design Strategy 2: Combining the Okram site with the leftover adjoining park on the edge of Dominion Road into one larger lot that keeps the giant Nolfolk Pines
A larger mix of 30 dwellings with work space on the lower levels is built in three identical 6.0m wide towers with access via outdoor gantries suspended amongst the magnificent trees. The additional communal BBQ terraces (facing north) complement private outdoor space within the apartments.
All apartment blocks provide views in more than one direction and cross-flow ventilation, as well as offering the economy of precast modular construction. The ground plan is open to the public and extends the neighbourhood pedestrian network.
Innovative architectural thinking could also be extended to include innovative re-thinking of the funding and ownership models to test public and private sector collaboration. New thinking could also extend to experimenting with the rental/ownership mix (for example, renting 30% and privately selling 70%) to showcase a genuine local mixed-use solution.