Yachtsman, entrepreneur, longtime property investor & retired lawyer Charles St Clair Brown had already sold 6 of the 16 apartments in the Nuffield Residences development in Newmarket before it was launched to prospective buyers last week.
The project returns architect Neville Price (pictured above) to prominence as the designer of a building with a number of innovative features – materials & the way they’re used, building & individual apartment designs, right through to trees which will be planted beside balconies up the 10-storey building.
The 2 features he prizes most in an apartment building are privacy & individuality.
Mr Price’s best-known works from over 40 years ago are the West Plaza tower at the bottom of Albert St in the cbd, built in 1974, and Auckland’s first highrise apartment block, Devon Park, across the harbour at Stanley Point, built in 1967.
Mr Price spent 27 of the intervening years based in California and has employed US techniques to innovate in Auckland. One of those is to incorporate post-stressed concrete, poured onsite (and rarely done in New Zealand highrises): “It’s very much stronger than tilt slab,” he said. “The floors are post-tensioned, doing away with columns – bridges are built that way. It’s a more expensive method of construction but it’s better.”
The technique allows for a thinner floor and extra ceiling height, and improves sound absorption.
The Devon Park development was what took Mr Price to the US. In 1980, an American developer called him after seeing the North Shore building, and although he had one of the biggest practices in the country, Mr Price expressed interest in the US prospects. He lost the first big project because he was heading to take part in the Transpac yacht race, from Los Angles to Honoloulu, but went on to design a number of midrise buildings for Californian company Grosvenor Properties Ltd and worked on the San Francisco downtown masterplan.
Mr Price said large decks had been done in Auckland for individual houses, less so for apartment buildings. At Nuffield Residences (85 Nuffield St), decks can make up as much as a third of an apartment’s floorspace, and their integration includes continuing the kitchen bench out to the balcony & barbecue.
The 2-storey trees to be placed in planters up the tower, which are part of the building design, will be native multi-trunked puka.
The building will be close to the motorway Newmarket viaduct, but Mr Price said noise from it would be no greater than in a street where cars were stopping & starting. Double glazing, full insulation & wing walls would also deflect noise.
The basalt under the small site dictated the limit on basement parking and, instead, the building will have a car lift into the lower floors behind the 2-level apartment taking up the rest of floors 2-3.
The apartments, marketed by Heather Walton of Ray White Epsom, have been priced at $880,000 for a one-bedroom unit, 2 bedrooms starting at $1.25 million net of parking.
Resource consent has been approved and building consent is expected to be issued shortly, enabling a start on construction early next year from completion in the first quarter of 2018.
Attribution: Launch, marketing material.