Orakei, Auckland – 2021
Orakei, Auckland – 2021
Our clients wanted a centrally located Auckland house on a small piece of land that would allow two generations of family to live together. Since no houses or sites fitted the bill, they took on the role of developer.
The 720 sq metre site they found had a single storey house in the style of the an Orakei State House.
The brief was to create two houses:
- one for themselves, with two living units that could be used independently by family members
- and one that would be subdivided and sold
Density on the site was increased from 1 to 3, without loss of openness and interest to the street. There are no fencing or gates. Privacy for the lower house is afforded by the raised terrace. Shuttered concrete forming the wall to lower garage doubles as the backdrop to the garden which is effectively gifted to the street.
Formally two face-like house fronts step up the slope and wink back the street, with replicating metal clad 10 degree canting walls to the south and matching roofs at 90 degrees. This forms a strong back and rhythm to the development.
The two houses reflect each other to appear cohesive from the street and provide some economies with the replication of detail and materials.
The challenge, given the great views to the west - back to the city and harbour, was not to overheat the houses. Head heights of windows are therefore reasonably modest, windows can open generously and sliding adjustable cedar screens allow moderation of light.
The houses are designed to minimise the need for mechanical heating or cooling. Glazing along the long northern face of the buildings allows helpful heat gain during the cooler months. On the lower floors powder-coated aluminium box section eyebrows, and extra cedar battens for some craft and texture deal passively with excluding the northern summer sun, while at the upper level the roof eave achieves that job.
The principal cladding is locally sourced Abodo Vulcan thermally modified pine, which is stable enough to allow a dark painted finish. Light painted locally grown pine and imported western red cedar complete the wall cladding and exterior finishing timbers - all are sustainably sourced carbon sequesting renewable timbers.
The separate living unit in the lower floor of the upper house
Tripling the density on an existing city site strikes the environmental sustainability criteria at a fundamental and important level.
It makes use of the local infrastructure of stormwater, sewers, electricity, water and roading as well as public transport networks. The train station at the foot of the hill is well utilised by residents on this site.
This level of low to medium density, if there is enough of it rolled out, may allow us to keep at least some parts of Auckland retaining a somewhat familiar relaxed suburban feel whilst dealing with the pressing need for increased density.