Arlington apartments revamp design unveiled

26 September 2015

A consortium has been named as preferred tenderer for the first stage of the upgrade of Wellington City Council’s Arlington Apartments in Mt Cook.

The consortium includes Hawkins Construction, Novak+Middleton, Dunning Thornton, Boffa Miskell, Stephenson and Turner, Beca, Motm, Holmes Fire, Acousafe and Stantiall Studio.

An application for resource consent for the $33 million development, on a large city block bounded by Taranaki, Hopper and Hankey streets, is expected to be lodged before the end of this year. If the application is successful, the existing 1970s Council housing will be demolished.Site preparation work on the new project could start March 2016.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the consortium's design is attractive, sustainable and an excellent use of the very conveniently located site. 

“The Arlington redevelopment will be a long-standing symbol of our Council's commitment to the right of everyone to have secure, safe, warm and affordable housing. 

“Any city that promotes itself as genuinely diverse and liveable must provide affordable high-quality social housing.”

Councillor Paul Eagle, Chair of the Council committee responsible for social housing, says the development will usher in a new era of flexible rental housing for those Wellingtonians most in need.

“Our tenants often cannot afford private market rents, or face discrimination in the market.”

An application for resource consent for the $33 million development, on the corner of Taranaki, Hopper and Hankey streets, is expected to be lodged before the end of this year. If the application is successful, the existing 1970s Council housing will be demolished. Site preparation work on the new project could start March 2016.

Main features of the proposed development:

  • Delivers affordable, sustainable, flexible accommodation that is modern, warm, safe and secure. 
  • The 105 new apartments will provide space for 324 residents – almost double the 166 residents as of now.
  • The apartments have been designed as ‘modular’ residences. With minimal alterations, they can be reconfigured from single-bed apartments to multi-bedroom units that can accommodate large families, and vice-versa.
  • A large central communal landscaped park will be a defining feature of the site. The central landscaped space will promote a sense of belonging and community for the tenants.

The project is the latest stage in the City Council’s Housing Upgrade Programme – a $400 million programme jointly funded with the Crown. The programme to upgrade the Council’s social housing – most of it dating from the 1960s and 1970s – has been under way since 2008.

The proposed Arlington project will be the third entirely ‘new-build’ project of the upgrade programme. The majority of the projects have involved quake-strengthening existing buildings and then comprehensively updating the accommodation to improve heating and ventilation, insulation, kitchens and bathrooms and security, as well as indoor and outdoor community facilities.

Hawkins Project Director Matt Wilton says: “We are tremendously excited to be given the go-ahead to investigate the proposal further with the City Housing team. “This project, if it gets final approval, will transform this area – it will be an exemplar for future modern residential developments nationally.” 

Novak+Middleton Director Simon Novak says: “We’ve responded to the design brief as much as possible with modular designs that are light and airy but also warm and highly flexible.” 

Mr Novak says the modular design of Arlington Apartments is a New Zealand first in adaptability and flexibility in multi- unit housing. All apartments can be easily reconfigured from the standard one-bedroom apartment module, to a range of unit types, from bedsits up to seven bedroom family units, all with minimal modification.”

The Council’s City Housing Manager, Vicki McLaren, says the proposed development is a great example of what can be done when the client, contractor and designers all share the same vision, and are leaders in their respective fields.

“The City Council’s design-build procurement strategy enabled participating teams to choose their own participants and collaborate from the project onset. The successful team had a common goal to design and construct affordable, innovative and adaptable modular housing that would provide residents with quality housing and bring new energy to the city.”

Key design points for Arlington Site 2:

  • Social housing that residents can be proud to call home
  • Warm, dry, safe and healthy housing that is suitable for modern living
  • A New Zealand first in adaptability and modularity in multi-unit housing
  • Excellent environmental performance
  • Designed to integrate into and enhance the local urban environment
  • Small communities of residents sharing buildings, where they can know their immediate neighbours
  • Ground floor apartments with flow to green space
  • A large, sunny and sheltered landscaped courtyard bordered by three-storey multi-unit buildings with glass stairwells
  • Community facilities for social and recreational use, linked to central green area
  • The fundamental principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) underpin the design
  • Robust, resilient, low cost to use and easy to maintain
  • Modern design with multiple options for cladding and colour schemes.