Mondrian Terrace Houses
Completion : 2022
Contractor : Expert Building Solutions Ltd, Nick Gyles.
The project for an eight-unit development in a back lot of Newtown - an inner residential area of Wellington - is located in an area with large areas of original housing stock (predominantly constructed during the 1900-1909 period). The characteristic building pattern includes a mix of original housing stock and infill multi-unit development. The eight-unit development required demolition of a pre-1930s existing building that we defined as non-contributing to the character of the area. The contemporary multi-unit development described by Council as “edgier” than existing buildings was also deemed in keeping with the local townscape character. A high level of architectural contrast contributed to the area's character, by including articulated materiality and colour choices detailed alongside good open space that provided amenity and liveability for both the occupants of the units and neighbouring properties. Site planning included three elevated building areas (over a carpark) and one grounded building form to the west end of the site. Access is via a shared pedestrian and vehicle driveway along the northern boundary, with shared car parking beneath the first three buildings. The northern aspect of each building was set back from the north boundary providing elevated outdoor living areas adjoining each dwelling that is directly accessible from living levels cantilevered into this space. Privacy of the neighbouring sites was not compromised by careful bulk, height and scale of the proposed new buildings.
Therefore the height of the proposed development appears as two-and-three-storey development, given it is located over a basement parking level, creating breaks in the building form viewed from adjoining neighbours and within the site. The northern aspect of each dwelling is set back from that boundary to mitigate the effects of the taller building bulk, and to ensure acoustic and visual privacy is preserved. Here building design is well-considered, with internal layouts well-resolved by providing living environments that are comfortable, convenient and attractive for their occupants. A unique aspect here is the elevated ‘green gardens’ adjacent to the hanging decks between units that maintai distance from neighbours and boosting the amenity value of this development. North-facing balconies propose outdoor living space for each unit with amenity and usability that is well-considered and of a high, usable quality. The proposal satisfactorily meets most key requirements of the council’s Residential Design Guide, which council planners summarised as a “...unique contribution to Newtown and to Wellington’s growing need for density done well".