Manaaki is a new apartment development in Onehunga, Auckland, with two five-storey and two six storey apartment blocks providing 210 apartments — including 87 Kiwibuild homes. Designed by Ockham with community at heart, the development features a communal pool, gardens, resident lounge and even work-from-home offices for residents to share. In true Ockham style, the apartments have a strong visual identity, with custom coloured glazed bricks from Midland Brick playing a starring role in bringing the development’s unique character to life.
Enduring, low maintenance, sustainable materials are integral to Ockham Construction’s projects so it’s no surprise the design team opted for brick to ensure longevity and low maintenance on the Manaaki Apartments. While the material is a classic, the colour palette and gloss finish of the bricks chosen — inspired by the finishing villages of Cinque Terre and the art deco buildings of Napier — bring a playful twist to the design.
A custom solution was needed to create the baby blue, mint green, soft pink, lilac and lemon bricks. The Midland Brick team worked with Ockham’s colour specifications and their European supplier to provide the bespoke glazed Euro Bricks in custom sizes and colours, along with a white mortar to complement the pastel design.
Each building of Manaaki features a different combination of colours, with the overarching pastel colour scheme and smart use of detail bringing the blocks together as a single unified development. One key detail is the star pattern which is repeated across the top of the buildings — a reference to the Star Flats apartments which formerly occupied the site.
The RGC brick and block laying division was tasked with laying bricks on two of the buildings at Manaaki — including Block A — the largest block which is home to apartments, the resident lounge and a two-storey carpark. The large project had an ambitious construction timeline which meant a novel way of doing things. RGC needed to start brick laying on the lower level while construction of the structure was still being completed above, which brought new challenges for the team in terms of setting out and gauging.
Block A features a combination of white, lemon and blue glazed bricks, with careful detail adding interest to the facade, including a curved wall, positive and negative detailing, and the star motif which is repeated prominently across one section of the facade, as well as across the top of apartments. RCG’s brick layers did an excellent job of bringing this high level of detail to reality.
“The building had a couple of special different patterns in the design,” explains Ricky Robinson, Brick & Block Divisional Manager, RCG. “You have the star pattern on the car park, and the 10mm negative detail and 10mm positive detail on the block at the front, so that was a bit of an exercise.”
Overall, the experience using the Midland Bricks was positive, with the glazed surface helping to provide a smart finish for the building. “The glazed bricks are very easy to clean so that was easy, they came up good,” says Ricky.
The hardwearing nature and easy to clean glazed surface of the bricks will also ensure minimal maintenance is required over the lifetime of the building, with no risk of colour fading. And for residents, the intrinsic thermal properties of the brick facade will contribute to the energy efficiency of the apartments.
With the facade now complete, the Manaaki Apartments are drawing the attention of prospective buyers and neighbours alike. The eye-catching glazed Midland Brick facade highlights the versatility of brick — a timeless material which can be used to achieve stunning bespoke designs.