As one of the first premium townhouse developments to be built in the heart of Point Chevalier, it was essential for the developers of Huia that their homes set the standard in this up-and-coming neighbourhood, not only in terms of leading-edge architectural design, but also their appeal and liveability for the discerning buyer.
To help them realise this goal, the developers have enlisted the creative and collective expertise of Monk Mackenzie, a multi-disciplinary studio of architects and designers that has a proven pedigree for designing clever and enduring residential projects, ranging from highly crafted single dwellings to medium- and high-density apartments. Monk Mackenzie’s approach is non-conformist, striving to create aspirational architectural statements that are bespoke, but stand the test of time. This is evident in the many national and international accolades they have won.
To set the scene, Huia sits on a prime parcel of land, within an easy couple of minute’s walk of the Point Chevalier supermarkets, eateries and shopping area, and right on the doorstep of one of Auckland’s most picturesque urban beaches. These homes are also less than a kilometre from the city’s best-serviced motorway interchange, with easy access north, south, east and west, and just a 10-minute drive into the CBD (off peak).
Clearly, a site of this quality is deserving of an exceptional design, and the homes that are being built at Huia are certainly a cut above the majority of the townhouse developments that are increasingly cropping up in these sought-after city fringe suburbs, say the architects.
When it came to the look and the feel of Huia, materiality and a sense of craft were both very important. “There are a lot of townhouse developments on offer in Auckland, so it’s not like this is a new typology,” say the architects. “But many [of these designs] only offer a fairly standard look and weatherboard finishes, which can feel quite temporary.
“Discerning buyers will see that the design of the homes at Huia are more robust; cleaner and crisper than much of the current stock of townhouse developments, which all tend to have a similar look. By adopting a more refined approach, Monk Mackenzie has created an enclave of homes that feel more permanent.”
The architects have given each unit at Huia a sense of individuality, which is not only important for the individual homeowner, but also for the overall street appeal of the development, and the way it dovetails into the existing homes in the area.
In fact, the architects have taken the design one step further, by creating a series of individual brick porticos that give each unit visual interest from the street, with shadow, depth, and the play of light.
“The exterior palette is to be monochromatic, with a white brick that still has a little roughness and texture to it, matched with a vertical, black-stained natural timber cladding and a curved soffit gracing the street. Combined, these materials give a sense of being crafted, elegant, and permanent,” say the architects. “These unique features will help Huia stand out. And that certainly gives these homes a point of difference.”
In total, there are four sets of four townhouses, comprising twelve units with three-bedrooms, and four units with two-bedrooms. All have front courtyard gardens, with landscaped mature hedging and trees. Each townhouse has an allocated car park in the central courtyard area, which is tucked in behind the street front townhouses.
The interiors are deliberately reserved, which makes them feel spacious, say the architects. All the units have an open-plan ground floor living/dining/kitchen, with a fully glazed wall at the living end of the space that seamlessly leads out onto a paved patio. At the kitchen end, there are windows from bench height up. The key design feature of these open-plan 2.7m high living spaces, which are common to every home at Huia, is the quality and clarity of natural light that floods in, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glazing and the views through to the courtyard beyond.
“The beauty of having so much glazing is, not only will every room be flooded with natural light, but it also allows for cross-ventilation in summer,” say the architects. “The portico also provides shade from the sun during the height of summer, protection from cross-winds, and privacy from the neighbouring unit.”
All of the townhouses have two upstairs bathrooms including one ensuite. The four largest townhouses also have a downstairs toilet.
Prospective buyers will have the choice of two interior colour palettes. The interiors have been carefully curated by Monk Mackenzie and exude a sense of long-lasting quality, set against the crisp white walls.
First and foremost, the developers wanted to get the design absolutely right for their prospective buyers, and engaging Monk Mackenzie certainly has gone a long way to ensuring this goal has been achieved.
In a competitive, developer-driven market, where architectural details can often be overlooked, or written out of the design completely, Huia remains true to its original concept – to deliver achievable cool into a hot neighbourhood.
Architect — Monk Mackenzie
Monk Mackenzie is a highly creative, multi-disciplinary studio of architects and designers. Both partners have worked with recognised global firms including Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) in New York and London, and Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). The studio recently completed Auckland’s internationally acclaimed #LightPathAKL which has become a signature architectural statement for the city. A belief in creating sustainable and intelligent contributions to the built environment is what drives the practice forward.