• BEAUMONT QUARTER STAGE 3 Auckland, New Zealand | 2001 - 2007

    The project is the third stage of a five-stage affordable housing development, on the site of Auckland’s former Gasworks.

    Stage 3 comprises 118 individual housing units of one, two and three-bedroom configurations, built over a car park which occupies the entire footprint of the site and is completely above natural ground level. The housing therefore sits upon an artificial ground plane, accessed by stairs and lifts, with two significant public plazas formed in the spaces between the individual housing blocks. Public accessibility and pedestrian permeability within the entire project were major initiatives in the urban design response.

    Stage 3 has the highest density of all stages and contains two-thirds of the parking for the entire project. It also has the only irregular site geometry within the project. The site affords significant views to the city skyline and glimpses of Auckland Harbour, with the elevation of the houses above the car parking allowing additional access to these views.

    While accepting that the low-cost nature of the construction and standardised building systems would lead to a kit-of-parts approach, the design of each individual housing block assembles the kit in slightly different ways creating a degree of individuality within a reasonably uniform whole. Only two materials were selected for the façade cladding – fibre cement sheet and “baby corrugate” or “mini orb” profiled steel sheet for all balconies. Each block is also differentiated by the use of colour – Block A is white, Block B black, Block C grey, and Block D a combination of black, white and grey. Yellow has been used as an accent colour to make legible the entry points and vertical circulation within the site, and is most prominent on the stair and lift tower at the end of the Fisher Point Drive axis.

    There are a large number of different unit types within Stage 3, the majority of which are dual-aspect and employ a simple extruded tube of space on each level, into which a centralised service pod is placed. The pod is differentiated from the simple white shell by way of its more refined detail, finish and colour. This colour serves to animate the interiors and provide a further element of individuality, within a tightly constrained and uniformly detailed, low-cost, affordable housing project.

    Photographer: Simon Devitt

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