Architect Craig Roberts of Designgroup Stapleton Elliott says 38 barrack-like rows of pensioner flats were replaced by an array of bright, clean-lined townhouses and apartments for singles, couples and families.
Along with receiving an NZIA National Award and Property NZ Award, this project gained international coverage when shortlisted for the World Architecture News Awards. It made the top six from 846 international entries.
Craig says there was a clear design brief that covered diverse aspects such as healthy living, sustainability, local history, public acceptance and cost. The challenge was to find products that could meet all requirements, in particular aesthetic integration with the established suburb of Newtown
“The units are designed to fit with the character of local Victorian houses, and so feature strong vertical and horizontal lines in proportion with their neighbours. Simple construction materials like Linea Weatherboard and corrugated iron work with modern insulation and heating practices in a no-nonsense partnership,” he says.
Although it was aesthetics that alerted the architects to Linea Weatherboard, Craig says there were a number of other features which lead to the product’s specification, including its robust and low-maintenance nature.
“It also proved to be the ideal material in this context for achieving acoustic and fire ratings,” Craig says. “Because of the proximity of the units safety and privacy were of utmost concern.”
James Hardie’s Linea Weatherboard is made from an advanced lightweight cement composite so provides heavy-duty performance as well as resistance to fire and moisture damage. Sheets can be gun-nailed and are pre-primed, shortening installation and painting times.
“This project is successful because we used simple, economic materials that have a reference to the architecture of the area, but there is a diversity of form that has been achieved in a small area because of the way the materials have been handled,” the architect says.