Mixed Housing Solutions

Placing quality, affordable homes along transport links in established communities is the future of Auckland, and the team at Gel Architects are at the forefront of combining housing density with sophistication and liveability in the Mixed Housing Urban Zone

Housing intensification is something Auckland desperately needs to house its growing population.

The quarter-acre dream is beyond the reach of many Aucklander’s looking to purchase a home, and in many cases, it’s not even what they want. The movement to reducing our footprint and transitioning to smaller homes is growing worldwide.

The assignment

With the 2016 Unitary Plan, this subdivision, positioned on a sunny slope near Beach Haven Primary School, came under the Mixed Housing Urban Zone with dwellings up to three stories allowed. The new 15-unit subdivision on Rangatira Road in the North Shore suburb of Beach Haven is the ideal opportunity for Gel Architects to demonstrate that housing intensification can be done well, with clever design and high-quality materials.

This Rangatira Road project began in late 2016 with the intention of maximising the site without comprising functionality, privacy, outlook, and sun aspects. Two quarter-acre sections, with one dwelling apiece, were combined to create 15 units ­­­­­– a case of the old paradigm of urban housing meeting the new.

Rangatira Road 2 SM.jpg

Challenges and solutions

Gel have realised a quality development, but there were some significant challenges to overcome. Density allowances, number of dwellings per site, number of off-street carparks, outdoor living space, and height in relation to boundary all underwent changes under the new Unitary Plan, so it was an important learning curve for everyone involved. Working closely with Auckland Council and other consultants was a key factor in achieving the best outcome for the client.

Being sympathetic to neighbours was a major consideration when approaching this development. Landscaping became very important, with targeted plantings along the fence line to create privacy and soften the impact of the buildings on the surrounding neighbourhood.

The team at Gel wanted to maximise the outlook across the valley to the green fields beyond which meant viewing angles became paramount. This involved working with the heights and widths of the front and rear buildings to ensure all houses got a view out to the valley.

The result is four three-story houses facing Rangatira Rd and two-story houses for the remainder, staggered in floor level to follow the natural slope of the land, ensuring much of the development benefits from morning sun.

There is one off-street car park per house and a layout which promotes pedestrian-friendly movement throughout the site. Screened decks and separate entrances are balanced with attractive shared outdoor green spaces affording a combination of privacy and community for residents.

With an approved Resource and Building Consent, the first sod has been turned and the homes on Rangatira Road will be completed in 2018.

If you have any questions or need assistance planning a project, please contact us at hello@gelarchitects.com or on 09 368 4403. We’d love to help.

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