Have you spied what is on the big Khyber Pass reservoir in Uptown?
One of the largest outdoor mural’s in the country has just been unveiled and we are pretty proud to have been involved.
Commissioned and funded by the Uptown Business Association, the work “Magma” is the creation of renowned New Zealand artist Sara Hughes and depicts an abstract volcanic mural, which will transform a view seen by thousands of Aucklanders every day.
Ms Hughes says the work is a ‘volcanic scape’, abstract in form yet influenced by the history and geography of the area. The piece uses red, orange, pink, purple and yellow colours and is evocative of Auckland’s volcanic landscape.
“The real feature of the wall for me was its extremely rough surface, I have used this surface as a feature of the work applying sprayed paint to create many veiled layers of paint to build up a rich surface which can only be seen close up,” Hughes said.
Laila Harre, Chair of the Uptown Business Association, says it has been exciting to be involved in such an ambitious project.
“Creating a community focus and ‘heart’ and quality open public space is recognised as essential in any community, and that is something that the Uptown district, earmarked for intense residential growth in the coming years, sorely lacks. “Public art is a key part to creating that sense of community and we believe that “Magma” will become a real focal point, and talking point, for the area,” Ms Harre stated.
Key sponsors of the project were Resenes who supplied the paint for free along with support from local businesses Gow Langsford Gallery, O’Neils Personnel and Pacific Environment Architects. The Uptown Business Association also wishes to thank Watercare for their support and allowing them to use such a expansive canvass for the artwork.
An official celebration and unveiling of the plaque will be held within the next couple of weeks and a further communication will be sent out once details have been finalised. The artist Sara Hughes will be present.
Ever wondered about adding a car-port to your property, filling in the veranda or adding a standalone home office space? Some building projects around the house require consent, but there are also a range of things you could do without getting consent (but getting a professional in to carry out these works). We have found a range of resources for you to give you some understanding about what you can do with and without consent.
Before we go further, we must say before carrying out any renovation or building work on your property you should always check with your local council first, to ensure that what you propose doesn’t have any district planning implications (like maximum site coverage, setback requirements or permitted activities). A resource consent may be required and you must get one of these before starting any building work. If you are looking at building close to property boundaries you need to consider the Building Code and fire protection requirements. You could contact Council directly or through your architect. We would recommend chatting to the professional involved in your project to get a full understanding of the building rules.
So, what is a Resource Consent and Building Consent?
Both Resource and Building Consents give you permission from your local Council to carry out works (whether it is something you are permitted to do or a professional undertakes) on your property. Some projects are exempt from needing a Resource Consent or a Building Consent, some may need one but not the other.
Resource Consent is required to ensure the project meets the provisions of the Resource Management Act, which for buildings are usually covered by the District Plan -or in Auckland, the Unitary Plan.
Basically, you may need a Resource Consent on projects that impact on height in relation to boundary (how high and how close you can build to your boundary), the overall building envelope, or if it infringes on local rules. A resource consent could be required on anything from an extra tall fence, to a pool, to a factory.
Building Consents are required to ensure the project meets the provisions of the Building Code.
There are a range of things you can do to your property without needing a consent, but they all have some specific rules. For example, you could build a detached ‘Granny-flat/ Home Office/ Man or Woman Cave’ type building in your backyard without consent. It would still need to meet the Building Code (correct materials etc) and it would need to have a floor area less than 10 square metres, be no more than one storey tall (3.5m above floor level), doesn’t contain sanitary facilities or potable water storage, or have sleeping or cooking facilities. If it didn’t fit with those requirements, then you would need to apply for building consent. But of course, we recommend you check the guidelines in case they have been developed since this was posted, and check with what you can do on your property under the new Unitary Plan that came into effect on 15 November 2016.
How do you know what the rules are on your property?
By looking up your property on the Unitary Plan (which came into effect on 15 Nov 2016) you will be able to see what zoning you are located in which references the applicable rules for your site. (mixed urban, single dwelling etc).
The Auckland Council website has some fantastic resources, and its all reasonably easily to access.
Emily has been working with us over the past 8 months as she continues her study towards her Masters of Architecture.
She worked with Lyn on a competition project that was exploring designing living spaces for people with autism, and giving them the independence they wanted but with the support that they may need. A lot of research went into this by Emily and Lyn, with interviews and design reviews to come up with a concept that may work for some people (each person is unique so what may work for one person with autism, may not work with another’s needs). Once this was wrapped up we’ve kept her busy with residential design and planning.
Emily is now spreading her wings and heading off to Italy to study abroad as part of her course (we’ve very jealous Emily, and appreciate the Tiramisu)
Can you quickly tell us (because you have a heap of work to do before you go!)
What have you enjoyed about working at PENZL? … (so hopefully that will bring you back to your desk here when you are done travelling)
The people at Pacific Environments are fantastic and always have make my time very enjoyable. From the first day I felt welcomed and I have continued to feel like a valued part of the larger team. For a somewhat naïve student like me, having a strong support has helped me learn and develop my skills and confidence over the past 8 months. There has always been someone to help me with whatever questions, even very basic archicad questions! I also feel like I have had the opportunity to push myself, working with Lyn on the Austism Speaks housing competition was a great way to start off, and since then I have been able to get a taste for working on a wide range of projects with many different people, all of which has been hugely invaluable. And yes, I would love to come back if there is still room!
So what will you be up to while in Italy?
I will be completing one semester of study at the University of Florence. This is an exchange I have had my eyes on since I first heard about it in 1st year, so to finally make this happen is very exciting for me! The semester will finish at the end of February but I hope to fit some travel in between and after studying (I have a list of places I am desperate to visit + the Architecture Bienale!) I am completing 4 papers while over there, a design/ structural studio, renaissance and contemporary architecture history, design economics and a research methods paper via correspondence. And of course, I will be trying to immerse myself in the entirely new culture and language, which I sure will present many challenges, but I’m sure it will be a good adventure!
What appealed about studying in Italy?
I was fortunate to visit Italy last year as part of an study elective with 20 other students. It has my first big trip out of NZ so it really made me realise how much there is to see and learn beyond Auckland! Italy was beautiful, and thankfully I had this opportunity to return while I was still studying, even better, in one of the best cities of architecture in the world.
If I had to say one of the most important things I have learnt in Architecture School so far, it would be that Architecture will always be a social discipline. This may seem completely obvious, but it is surprising to see how many developments these days forget this. Florence is one city that epitomizes a successful city for people. The scale of the buildings and public spaces, the pedestrian friendly streets and the density of the working and living environments do this. And, that is why it has so many fantastic public spaces. Also being the birth place of Renaissance Architecture, it is bursting with architectural precedents, so I really couldn’t ask for a better place to study architecture! I am most interested in the urban context, in particular, how to go about delineating and forming relationships between public and private spaces. Florence will be able to help me with this knowledge and I am hoping to get some more inspiration for my final masters research project there
Are there any sites/buildings you are excited about seeing in the flesh while there?
I was able to visit many of the most notable public buildings in the main cities last year, all of which I had to pinch myself twice to realise I was seeing them for real! This time, I hope to return to experience many of these and more. I really admire Carlo Scarpa’s work in Venice and Vicenza (particularly Quirini Stampalia, Brion Cemetry and Castelvecchio), so I would love to see more of his works. But most of all I enjoy walking around the cities, I like to see how the local people go about their lives, in the piazza’s, the markets, the hidden churches and the tiny streets.
I will also have the opportunity to visit many other cities in Europe. I want to visit Centre Pompidou, Villa Savoye, maybe even some Mies in Berlin?! I would also like to make time to go south to Pompeii at some point, I want to make the most of my time over there (given my budget will allow for it!)
Lastly I would like to say thank you all very much for all of the support and kindness I have received during my time at Pacific Environments! I will keep everyone updated with my study and travels!
Last Friday we celebrated 10 years of being Pacific Environments NZ Ltd, with a fantastic get-together with current staff and those past staff who weren’t exploring the globe, tending to new babies or dotted around the country.
The past 10 years has seen us grow (from around 14 staff to needing new desks at 29) and move offices (which we celebrate 3 years in this coming Tuesday) into our purpose designed building.
We’ve had some amazing projects – the Treehouse, some stunning house sites with the most amazing views, the Waiheke Library, the National Aquatic Centre, that trip to China…(to name a few)…I wonder what the next 10 years will bring?
Before we were Pacific Environments NZ Ltd we were two companies – ADP and Pacific Environments.
ADP had John, George and Phil at the helm, with Clive as an associate. ADP have a long history stretching back 50 years and hold the West Plaza and Harbour Board Building in their portfolio, along with a bunch of awards up their sleeve.
Pacific Environments was a newly formed company by Pete who had recently parted ways after 18 years as founding director of Architects Patterson.
The two companies met and merged, becoming Pacific Environments NZ Ltd, bringing together lots of amazing projects, knowledge, skills, and a fantastic team.
So Happy Birthday PENZL, and many happy returns for the year.
(and as a little side note, we are looking at adding to the PENZL family and are on the look out for a registered architect! If that sounds like you best to email Grant at email@example.com)
Mat was our student architect last year, working here a couple of days a week and during uni holidays. Hes now graduated and working for us full time!
I managed to steal a couple of minutes of his time to ask him some questions to in
So Mat, what was something you learned working here as a student that you might not have picked up at uni?
I’ve learned countless things at the office that I didn’t know coming out of Uni, but the most interesting thing I’ve learnt (*still learning) are the client meetings. At Uni, you design for fictitious clients and have complete control of the design influences and outcomes. Where as in the real world, you get to work with clients closely and see their ideas and dreams develop into something real. I find it’s a more rewarding design process.
What piece of advice would you have for our new students Emily and Stella?
Ask questions, as many as you can. Dwelling on a problem trying to figure it out by yourself is sometime not as efficient as simply as asking someone in the office who will probably have encountered the same problem at some point.
What is the biggest difference from being on the team as a student vs being on the team as an architectural graduate?
The main difference is being able to really get into a project and see them through. Working part-time you get to work on a lot of little jobs and tasks, but full time you really get to sink your teeth into a project.
What do you like about working at Pacific Environments?
I like that the design process is a collective approach; everyone can get involved and pass feedback on designs that are going on around the office. That and the ‘Shout Police’ keeps the kitchen table full of snacks every week.
What has been an eye opener about architecture that you weren’t aware of as a student?
One thing that surprised me was how everyone managed to juggle multiple projects simultaneously. As a student, I focused on one project at a time and saw it all the way through before moving on. The way the practice works lets you widen your focus and get involved in multiple projects at different stages of design/documentation. While I’m still getting used to managing it all, I find it keeps things interesting and lets you be more productive. If you run into an immovable wall in one project, you can delve into another project while you think on the problem.
Everyday there is a newspaper or news story about the ‘doom and gloom’ of the Auckland (and wider NZ) property market. As someone who has jumped into the bottom end of this market, and who works in an industry who design houses and buildings, I thought I’d give my two cents and maybe even a bit of advice (eek?!)
I purchased my house in Papakura Auckland, at the end of 2013 (you may have seen an earlier blog post). Prices were high, although not as high as they have gotten to now. But as a single woman house prices were very daunting and in most cases, unreachable. I’d kind of worked out where I wanted to buy – the south would get you a bit more for your money than out west, and there were pockets of Auckland I wanted to avoid. I knew what I wanted – yes I was planning on renting the house out so it probably shouldn’t have mattered, but a first home is still a first home, and I still couldn’t find the one I wanted to take on a huge amount of debt for.
Then I spotted a small subdivided section that wasn’t down a driveway, but on a raised corner site. I wondered what the costs were in moving an existing house onto a section?
After a bit of research and throwing some very rough numbers around, I decided that actually this might not be a bad option. The character home I wanted in a not too bad an area for less than the going rate. Obviously I got a bit lucky.
This site had services already connected, and was in the process of being subdivided – all cutting the costs to come directly out of my pocket – and was in an area that I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.
The offer goes in and I have a week to find something to fit the section. Searches on TradeMe and house removal sites found me a little cutie of a villa. And with rotating how it would normally sit, was perfect for my site. It was the perfect beginners renovation project – currently still lived in so in not too bad condition – and while a little pricey I was paying for it being in better condition.
In goes the offer and away we go!
Resource consent drawings go in – with my little additions – and a couple of months later the villa is sliced in two and trucked across Auckland in the wee hours of the morning, then unloaded onto site – definitely a sight to see!
The beauty with a relocated house is that, technically, all you have to do is stick it back together and connect it all up (power, water, gas). So I could have just done this and lived with it as is – both the kitchen and bathroom travelled well so there was no NEED to do anything other than tidy it up. However because it needed to be connected up I took the opportunity to make a few modifications because it was easier and cheaper to do it now, rather than coming back to it at a later date. Other houses in the area had four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Mine had three bedrooms (one being rather small) and one bathroom, so my connections to an architecture firm came in very handy! The clever architects worked out a cost effective way to get my fourth bedroom (which would result in it becoming a master bedroom, with a walk-through wardrobe and ensuite fitting in perfectly) simply by adding an extra room the size of the kitchen, and some cosmetic work to the now front of the villa finishing it off quite nicely. This ultimately added to my upfront costs, and I most definitely could have done it cheaper, bit in the end its definitely added value and saved time (and money).
In the end I got into the property market at a good rate considering how it is now, and I definitely think moving an existing house is something more people should look into as an option for themselves. There are a few things you do need to arm yourself with to succeed though:
An architect (yes this is being posted on a architects blog but…). They know what they are talking about. They know what you can and can’t do, how spaces should work, and will have a bunch of ideas for your individual project.
A trusty, clever builder
Patience / open mind / be adventure ready
In my opinion, the housing market isn’t all ‘doom and gloom’ (even if it sometimes feels that way). You just need to look for little pockets of opportunity and maybe try something that is a little outside of the norm.
Please note that this is my opinion, and my experience. It by no means guarantees that you could have the same experience as me, but hopefully sparks an idea for you to explore other opportunities.
Have you met Grant? He is our in-house Urban Designer and is trained in CPTED. What is CPTED? Good question! I caught up with Grant to find out just what it is and why it is an important aspect to your project.
So, what is CPTED?
It stands for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Basically it is designing out potential security problems so they can’t happen. This could be as simple as allowing a building to be visible from the street and visible to other buildings, allowing passive surveillance over the street by a community from their houses, to looking at how people move through a building – creating clarity in the plan, clear boundaries to private/public areas.
When would you apply CPTED principles to a project?
From day one. It is important to know the design principles from the start rather than editing the design later.
So what kind of projects should be using CPTED?
Mainly all projects where public are involved or have access, such as apartments and multi housing blocks, to schools, commercial projects and parks.
Are there simple measures people can take to make their own homes have a better CPTED rating?
The Police do have guidelines –but small things like not planting your house out so it is screened from the street, lighting, and security lighting that turns on when triggered because you or a neighbor are more likely to notice this than a constant light, clear definition of where the boundary is– which doesn’t have to be a hard line, it could be with low planting or surface material use.
Amongst all the rain on Monday, the hard-core architects jumped in their boats for the annual Architects Regatta!
Lyn leads the charge for the Pacific Environments team.
“A big thanks to the team yesterday for a brilliant race. Mat showed real skill at head- sail fencing and fore deck assistance, Fiona managed to keep the boat upright by trimming the main sail, Sally managed the foredeck with one hand while helping to trim the headsail with the other, Yvonne managed to stop most of the water bombs thrown at us and Rachel sacrificed her knees to keep the boat moving.
Although we didn’t win anything the boat sailed really well, the rain mostly stayed away and if we had managed to figure out how the start system was working, I’m sure we would have won”
Its summer, we’ve been enjoying time off and spending lazy days at home. Have you been thinking about tweaks and layout changes that you’d like to make to your home? I’ve found this handy little guide on Houzz (you can follow ushere) which could be very handy if you are wondering about planning a journey down renovation road! Check it out HERE
And don’t forget you can always ask us for some guidance! Give us a call and we will arrange a consultation.
Happy planning and long lazy summer evenings.
Check out one of our renovation projects before and afters:
This morning Caroline and Phillip were up (before) the crack of dawn, for the dawn blessing on the Estuary Arts Centre project. Still needing finishing touches, the Arts Centre is open to the public! Caroline has put together a little time lapse of the building taking shape –
They currently have The Under $500 Cash and Carry Art Sale on now until 31 January 2016, and soon after that will be starting up their workshops! For more info check out their website here
There has been a lovely little article published in the current Art News NZ magazine too if you want a quick read –
Well summer has hit NZ (some days) and the solar panels on Waiheke Library (installed by Solar City) are in full production mode, soaking up the rays and making power!
They have only been installed for a couple of months and we are starting to get some numbers – power used vs power generated. Its fantastic! Check out October and November, and keep your eyes posted for January (and the rest of 2016). We are really keen to see how it pans out over the entire year.
During the summer months we are hoping to see the library produce more power than it is using (nearly there already!) and over the winter months this will of course drop back. But it is all early days as the library settles into itself and the rhythms of life on an island.
Herringbone is a popular pattern and feature at the moment. It popped up last year on TV3’s the Block NZ, and again this year with Jamie and Hayden. So we have gathered a range of inspiration on our Pinterest boards with different ways with Herringbone – maybe something to try over the Christmas break we are gearing up for?
None of these images are our own, and we all found on Pinterest, and our board here.
One year on and there are still fabulous articles about the Waiheke Library being published. This recent one, from the Waiheke Gulf News in October, talks about how well the library is running, and all the community support making it such a wonderful place to work, visit and read.
“I can honestly look you in the eye and tell you there have been no negatives. And people who would never have used the old library, and in fact some who have never used libraries at all, are now using and enjoying it”
Aside from tours of interested groups from other libraries and organisations, the building itself has now become a place where a lot of community groups are keen to host events and functions.
“That’s a part of the job I hadn’t anticipated quite so much, but it’s great because people are realising what a great community asset it is.”
Its so nice to see the AMOT pool already in use! From water polo to swimmers, it seems they are enjoying their new facilities!
Here is a video from AUT Millennium Institute of Sport and Health where they are interviewing a young swimmer, but theres some great footage of the pool space for those who haven’t been able to check it out.
Continuing the series of interviewing our architects, but with a bit of a different angle, I manage to get Tane to sit still for a couple of mins while I asked him some questions about the recently finished and open to public, AMOT Pool.
So Tane, lets start with what the scope of the project – what was involved in bringing the vision into a reality? Pacific Environments NZ ltd became involved with the project about 2009 when we were asked to provide a Masterplan for the expansion of the Millennium Institute of Sport this included a new aquatic facility, from the masterplan the building evolved over several years into the National Aquatic Center which provides a FINA certified 50m training and competition pool for high performing athletes and the wider community as well as a 25x 10m learn to swim pool.
What is your favourite feature of the AMOT Pool? The height and volume of the pool Hall to allow the viewing angles from the spectator seating.
Did you have any particular inspiration source for the project? The most important aspect of the pool was ensuring that the pool met the international requirements of FINA for competition pools.
The big ‘bubble’ window is really cool. How did that come about? The bubble (ETFE) wall was inspired by waterfalls and dispersing patterns of the water.
Is there any really different pieces of technology or innovation used in the building? The pool water systems are used to achieve a very high level of filtration to give the greatest clarity to water which is very important for video analysis via the underwater window during training sessions.
And it has to be asked -how many tiles were used in the tiling of the pool? Far too many to count… the main pool has approx. 1500m2 of tiles, average bathroom would have about 35m2 so about 42 bathrooms worth of tile just in the main swimming pool.
Wow what a fantastic night last night! Phil, Pete and myself, along with the Auckland Council Libraries team attended the NZ Wood Resene Wood Awards as our entry – Waiheke Library – was a finalist. A fabulous evening made even more fabulous with not only winning the Commercial Architectural Excellence Award, but also taking home the Resene Overall Supreme Award!
An awesome project to have worked on and an awesome team. Everyone deserves a big pat on the back!