Architects: Strachan Group Architects, Studio 19
- Year : 2013
Photographs :Jackie Meiring
Text description provided by the architects. Studio 19 is a collaboration between Strachan Group Architects (SGA) and the Unitec School of Architecture. The client, VisionWest Community Trust, is a Waitakere based not for profit organisation that specialise in supported care within a growing housing portfolio. The brief was to design, document and build a four bedroom home and two bedroom minor dwelling for use as long-term supported social housing in Henderson, Auckland.
Beyond the typical scope of architectural education, the project team consists of sixteen third year architecture students under SGA guidance. The uniqueness of the 2012 project holds huge potential, as it is the first social housing undertaking from the Studio 19 team.
The future of social housing in New Zealand is being pushed towards the private sector with the Social Housing Reform Bill, VisionWest is a key example of how government funding of a community housing organisation can be successful when married with efficient and sustainable design.
The design honours cultural, social, educational, and lifestyle needs of future tenants. With sheltered outdoor living, dedicated built-in study spaces, passive solar design, transportable thermal mass and new material technologies, the homes provide a quality product 50% above code standard for insulation, and well above market standards for healthy homes.
The two homes (Four-bedroom: 109m2 and Two-bedroom minor dwelling: 57.6m2) step with the landscape as the contour descends to the valley below, painted in camouflage to rest modestly in the deep green hues of the Waitakere Ranges. The roofs fold protectively forming resilient and low maintenance Southwest walls whilst the rhythmic battening is a reference to the area’s history of Kauri logging. A crafted timber interior provides warmth and comfort yet provides a robust and low maintenance internal lining, offset by custom CNC cut cabinetry in kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms.
The prefabricated nature of the design allows for a streamlined construction process, resulting in a reduction in build costs, and also in wastage of materials. Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) for roof and walls arrive on site pre-made and ready to install with no offcuts. It is intended that the modular design can be easily adapted to future sites.
This project has the potential to change the way New Zealand approaches social housing. Modular, prefabricated, and delivered at $1400 per square metre (plus GST and site costs), an effective solution that does not compromise on quality has been achieved.