Lynfield Apartments

Architecturally Designed Boutique Auckland Apartments

A small site with restricted access in a Residential Mixed House Suburban zone. A small three story walk-up apartment building providing a total of six generous one bedroom apartments, two per level. Using brick veneer cladding with simple yet cleverly placed openings to provide natural light and ventilation as well as acting as relief, architecturally, by recessing the windows to the private rooms, and extruding the windows to the living areas to act as an extension of the living space.

The Brief

For this new build project, we were approached by a client who had purchased a house with a large garden in West Auckland. The property is just minutes from the local train station and the area it is in is “Residential – Mixed Housing Urban Zone”. After considering a few different options, we landed on a design for a new multi-apartment, low rise building.

When we initially met, our client already had a few ideas of how he wanted to develop the section, with a preference to put as many terraced homes on the land as we could fit in.

His main goal was to use the land to create a multiple home development that would generate income for him while not being extravagantly expensive to build. He knew the location near the train station might attract singles or couples commuting into the Auckland CBD for work.

One of the first things we did, then, was sit down and run the cost/benefit analysis of a few different development scenarios with our client and a civil engineer. The idea of building several terraced houses just didn’t add up – we couldn’t get the sums to work in his favour.

The Design

What we were able to do, however, was convince him with beautiful concept drawings that a low-rise apartment complex would indeed be an attractive option. Our design is a walk-up apartment building with three levels. Each level contains two 1-bedroom apartments, one on each side of the central staircase that serves as the spine of the building design.

The building runs sideways across the section from west to east, with its entrance on the south side. We positioned it slightly on an angle, so that the eastern block is stepped back a bit to allow for a bit of sun on the west side during the day.

Having the main entry on the south side allowed us to have the outdoor areas for each apartment north facing – small back gardens for the ground level apartments and balconies for the homes on the second and third levels.

Approaching the apartment building from the road, you see two red brick wings (west and east) connected by a central spine – a solid pre-cast/plaster stairwell painted in a dark charcoal colour. This central spine is one of the unique design features of this project. Its curved edge and full height glazing give the building a slightly art deco style and create a real statement piece for the building’s entrance.

The dark charcoal colour of the central spine is echoed in the openings and framing details on the exterior for each apartment. The windows are another eye-catching design feature of this property.

For the rooms where we wanted more privacy, such as the bedroom and bathroom, we designed windows that are recessed in with flared edges, painted in the dark charcoal colour. This creates a beautiful accent on the windows and allows for more light in and a more open feel. But we haven’t incurred the cost of large expensive windows and we haven’t sacrificed any privacy for a design aesthetic.

For the outdoor living spaces out back, we pushed out the window frames – from the dining room on the side of the building and from the living area out the back. Also in the dark charcoal, this creates another set of frames, a statement to delineate the outdoor living areas. For the upper levels, the dark framing surrounds the sliding doors that lead out to the balconies and create the appearance that the balcony is being held up by a large angle frame.

Inside, each apartment has a simple layout, with one bedroom, living/dining area, kitchen and bathroom. The clean, elegant lines of the layout, along with the clever design work on the windows and balconies, together make every abode feel open and inviting.

The Result

The homes we ended up with here are a great example of how you can use smart details and different materials to enhance simple, elegant design while keeping costs down. The exterior accents make a statement and create the appearance of more space and light. We’ve ended up with a really interesting looking building without spending a lot of money.

Our client has created a selection of homes he can sell or rent out, with either option providing more return that his original idea of freestanding or terraced houses. The apartment building is functional in its use of space and unique in its appearance – its residents will be proud to call it home.

Similar Projects