LocationChristchurch, New Zealand
Architect in ChargeFiona Short
Text description provided by the architects. The new 12 unit extension is seamlessly integrated into the existing suburban environment of the Mary Potter community. Configured to enhance the sense of community, the 12 Unit extension is nestled around a landscaped courtyard with individual units sited to balance independence and privacy.
A strong geometric street edge contributes to the character of the development and creates a sense of safety through community surveillance. The building form references the simple gable roofs of the original units, which are adapted to meet the internal planning requirements to have more rooms facing the courtyard or North and a facade which legibly reflects this.
It is medium density housing but the units have been configured so that they are offset from each other to ensure a level of seclusion and privacy. It was a priority for us to encourage interaction between the residents with the design. The centre courtyard model makes it easy for residents to walk to one another’s houses, and as they walk through the grounds to the community centre they’ll bump into their neighbours.
Natural day lighting, a calm interior palette, a comfortable thermal environment drivers in creating light filled spaces with generous glazing and high, sloping ceilings in the living areas.
One of the key guiding design principals was ‘universal design’ with the aim that the structure will in no way exclude any person from occupying the house whether they are young, old, handicapped, or able bodied.
The complex, which was originally designed for the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary and is in its third stage of development. The original 17 units and Convent were designed by Warren and Mahoney in 1993. In 2006, 13 more units were added on an adjacent site and a later a Community Centre, designed by Maurice Mahoney.