The Finished College Hill Project

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Band-sawn formwork cast into the concrete ceilings is juxtaposed against the suspended timber Rosawa boards, which act to direct and hide the light sources throughout.

Band-sawn formwork cast into the concrete ceilings is juxtaposed against the suspended timber Rosawa boards, which act to direct and hide the light sources throughout. Image: Matter

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Suspended timber Rosawa boards.

Suspended timber Rosawa boards. Image: Matter

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Character is applied to the wall spaces by graffiti artists.

Character is applied to the wall spaces by graffiti artists. Image: Matter

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The building's staircase with graffiti art applied.

The building’s staircase with graffiti art applied. Image: Matter

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Extensive use of concrete throughout provides a long-term, sustainable solution which heats and cools the building passively throughout the year.

Extensive use of concrete throughout provides a long-term, sustainable solution which heats and cools the building passively throughout the year. Image: Matter

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The College Hill project was finally granted Resource Consent after the house was ‘bombed’ or painted by street artists.

The College Hill project was finally granted Resource Consent after the house was ‘bombed’ or painted by street artists. Image: Matter

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This story wishes to follow a construction project on College Hill, discussing the directly related issues of blanket restrictions placed on sites throughout Auckland, how this affects developments in Auckland, the community, and the complexities of working with council to obtain approval for a development with integrity. Matter Architect, Jonathan Smith writes.

We are finally all moved in and practicing our architecture within in our architecture. This has proven to be a unique and fantastic opportunity enabling us and our clients to enjoy and discuss potentials in a space which provides tangible examples of our certain perspectives and approaches.

It seems we have created a Tardus-like building which provides much debate on established assumptions of spatial requirements. From the street view, the building’s aesthetic is reminiscent of the original bungalow’s general form, however, on entering the structure an entirely new environment unfolds. 

Concrete has been employed in the construction of certain floor areas, allowing flexible use of each space and the ability to reduce the overall depth of the floor construction. Gaining back this space has enabled the original two-storey bungalow to become three. The concrete also provides a long-term, sustainable solution which heats and cools the building passively throughout the year, removing plant and equipment from the interior. Having a driveway through your building also informs the use of a solid construction technique. Band-sawn formwork cast into the concrete ceilings is juxtaposed against the suspended timber Rosawa boards, which act to direct and hide the light sources throughout. The polished concrete floors, along with the exposed steel skeleton, reference the way in which the building has been pieced together, forming the inside-out idea generated during the conceptual stage of the project (see previous blog).

The Rosawa ceiling boards wrap down the walls in particular areas, forming balustrades and tying the spaces together in a three dimensional manner. Recessing particular stair handrails steals space back from the restrictions of the fixed floor plate, increasing the feeling of spaciousness. Skylights designed to increase this perceived space also bounce light into the lower areas of the structure, ensuring natural light flows throughout. Glass tiles within the bathrooms use this light and create depth within the spaces, while negative detailing between all materials articulates each surface.

The graffiti artists that bombed the entire original bungalow enabling the RC on the project to be approved (see first blog), were re-engaged with the project. BMD were given free run of two of the new concrete walls within the building, both inside and out. A dozen beer were left with the artists at 9pm and by 9am the next day the walls had gained character, a permanent guard dog, and a dissected fish.

We decided to finish off the front landscaping by including new nectarine trees to the street front, hopefully one day providing the odd pedestrian with fruit on the way by. These and other finishing touches on the project have provided us with a huge amount of joy, and promise to continue doing so throughout the building’s life-span as we add and subtract the internal visual skin.


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