Student outcomes III – Hannah Steenson

Hannah Steenson’s proposal is in many ways a contrasting solution to WooMin Lee’s. Grounded in detailed research into different conceptions of the ideal home as it has shifted and changed over New Zealand’s history, Hannah’s proposal combines successful parts of several previous ideals to present something which offers privacy and space (elements which have come to signify luxury) in a high density building.

From the exterior the building presents itself as one large home, making unclear the boundaries of each private home within and giving the impression of a ‘modern mansion’. The upper level of the two storey building gives views of the tree tops and the nearby park, providing the outlook onto the landscape that has become so desirable in contemporary New Zealand homes. The building has a number of outdoor ‘pockets’ scattered throughout. These smaller openings are little refreshing moments, breaking up the interior spaces of the building, creating a visual flow between interior and exterior.

The proposal is very much a one-off piece of architecture, highly attuned and specific to both the imagined residents and the site. The height of the structure is varied to match the height of the surrounding buildings and scales down toward the street. Here a smaller, sheltered entrance brings the residents together as they enter and exit the site. Inside, the building is designed to offer both moments of privacy, tucked away behind the angles of the building, and also opportunities for the residents to come together. Each home has an individual kitchen and living space but these are situated next to each other and can be opened out to create a larger, shared kitchen.

As Auckland moves toward higher density there is a place for architecture like this. With its interesting and thoughtful outdoor spaces, buildings like these have a part to play in attracting the upper end of the housing market to higher density housing. Auckland will need housing of all kinds, including desirable smaller residences that offer privacy, luxury, and landscape views, while also offering the opportunity to live close to shops and cafes as part of a lively neighbourhood.

By Emma Ng