Regent Park Flats Shortlisted for Global Award

12 March 2013

Wellington City Council’s new Regent Park housing development in Newtown – designed by local architects Designgroup Stapleton Elliott - was one of only six completed projects out of 846 entries from 51 countries to make the shortlist for the recent World Architecture News Awards in the residential category.

Regent Park Apartments.

Award-winning Regent Park Apartments

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WorldArchitectureNews.com praised the housing development for its pragmatic and elegant design - demonstrating Wellington’s proactive commitment to rejuvenating its social housing programme.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says she’s delighted the project has been recognised internationally. "This is a real tribute to the architects and everyone who’s been involved in the design and construction of Regent Park. This project, part of our Capital’s contribution to affordable housing, is a world class redevelopment."

The City Council’s Social Portfolio Leader, Councillor Stephanie Cook, was also excited by the news and says the tenants should be justifiably proud of their homes.

"These bright, clean-lined apartments and townhouses are providing warm, modern homes to 120 Wellingtonians from an array of different backgrounds. There’s a real sense of neighbourliness in the design too, with its fantastic communal outdoor areas."

The redevelopment of the Regent Park housing site - on a well-hidden and low-lying site off Owen Street - began in 2010 and was completed in March last year.

The project saw the demolition of 38 bedsit and one bedroom units dating from the 1970s and construction of 27 architecturally-striking new two-bedroom apartments and family size townhouses.

The site is in a natural basin in Newtown. The previous single-storey timber framed flats couldn’t be easily altered to accommodate modern families and appliances so it was decided to demolish them and build new apartments.

According to Craig Roberts of Designgroup Stapleton Elliot, the design carefully considered the underlying landform, natural landscape and the greater built environment within the area.

"We wanted to ensure this development fitted with the character of the local houses – so we chose strong features of vertical and horizontal lines to fit with the proportions of neighbouring buildings."

The overall winner of the residential category of the World Architecture News Awards was a design from Nantes in France, which replaced a demolished skyscraper with a revolutionary social housing project.

The other shortlisted designs came from Vancouver, London, Melbourne, Tokyo, Winnipeg and Luxemburg.

Although ultimately the Regent Park redevelopment didn’t take out the top honours, Roberts says his design team was chuffed with the result.

"To make the top eight in a prestigious international competition like this is a fantastic achievement. We’re so pleased we were able to work with the Council to deliver such a great building for the community."

The Regent Park redevelopment won three awards last year: the New Zealand Institute of Architecture’s Wellington Architecture Award – in Housing, the Resene Total Colour Residential Exterior Award and the Resene Total Colour Maestro Nightingale Award. It’s also been shortlisted for the NZIA national awards to be announced in May 2013.

The apartments are part of a $400 million 20-year project to upgrade the Council’s social housing portfolio. Central Government is contributing $220 million to the project and the Council is reinvesting its rental income in the publicly-owned asset.