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Redcliffs School’s Rebirth


A welcoming icon of community resilience stands proud in Redcliffs – a victorious beginning after a school’s endurance of a long, patient journey home.

 

PHOTOS LILLY TURNER

 

On June 22 Te Raekura Redcliffs School opened its doors and the community can now celebrate and enjoy the everchanging estuary views from the picture windows.|

Three days later, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke at the official opening day and Kiwi icon Dave Dobbyn entertained, singing a poignant Welcome Home to a group of around 600, with the school’s new haka, gifted by school parent Quentin Hoera also contributing to the emotionally moving week of events.

Principal Rose McInerney who remained head of the school since its closure in 2016, says the mood from the whole community was of both excitement and relief.

The new school has been built for a roll of 300, with 210 children enrolled on opening week. The build has future capacity for the school’s masterplan of up to 400 pupils.

“When we first moved to our temporary Sumner home back in 2011, none of us could have possibly imagined the road that lay ahead,” Rose says.

“It is with immense relief that we now put that journey behind us, moving into our wonderful new school with a renewed sense of energy and encouraged by the enormous support of our community.”

The 2011 earthquakes saw the much loved Redcliffs school move from their original home, after it was deemed unsafe from cliff fall in June of that year.

The roll then stood at 400. The school was going to close forever in 2016 – but the community fought with passion to keep their primary school that had shaped generations of young lives. For the last nine years, Redcliffs School has been operating at Sumner’s van Asch Deaf Education Centre.

The school’s new name for a new era, Te Raekura Redcliffs School, translates to The Red Cliffs.

The name, along with other te reo names used throughout the campus, was gifted by Mātauraka Mahaanui, an organisation established to include Māori and Ngāi Tahu content in the city’s rebuilt post-earthquake schools.

“Our return has been down to the tenacity and doggedness of many, many wonderful people, volunteering their time and playing an integral part,” Rose says.

The $16 million rebuild by Naylor Love Construction resides on the original Redcliffs Park site, it is now a local landmark from Main Road and Beachville Road.

Striking coloured precast panels blend into the environment, giving ode to the red cliffs towering above the original site which will now become the local park.

LBL timber was incorporated, as well as structural steel with sliding plates, for seismic resistance. Built with ample ground clearance and a large decked outdoor area, mitigating the possibility of tidal flooding in the future.

Naylor Love Construction Project Manager Darryl Grobler says the play netting above a hexagonal garden area incorporated into the decking was his favourite part of the project.
Murals from the original school were given new life, as well as some original stone, now incorporated into the landscaping.

The original 107-year-old school bell, was also rung by the Prime Minister – announcing a rock-solid community has finally come home.

Upcoming Te Raekura Redcliffs School open days will be held at 2pm on 19 and 31 July, and 2 August.


 

Architectural evolution: WSP Architecture


Architecture is the blueprint for a city’s form and function, making it critical to development. So we caught up with WSP Architecture –Christchurch Principal Architect Colin Corsbie FNZIA about the architectural evolution of our city.

 

 

 

 


What drew you to architecture and what do you love about what you do?
A passion for physically building places and spaces. Each project brings different design challenges and people together. It is a people profession which is constantly changing and evolving, and you learn something new each day.


How is the architectural climate looking right now?
It is difficult to gauge the ongoing impacts from Covid-19. Firms primarily working in the commercial and hospitality sectors will be affected most. Some firms are certainly feeling the pain in the short term and may have to diversify to survive. New Zealanders are very resilient however and part of our “can-do” Kiwi mentality is to look forward and focus on things we can control, not dwell on things we can’t change. I am positive the profession can respond to this latest challenge.


What are some of the main architectural trends you’ve been seeing come through?
The Christchurch Earthquakes have resulted in a new architecture where innovative resilient structures have been created and these structures are being expressed as part of the architectural aesthetic. Covid-19 has already changed the way we work and given us the opportunity to reprioritise our lives. People are more aware of the profound impact our surroundings have on our health and wellbeing, and this will drive new architectural approaches to work and home environments. This unprecedented event has given us the opportunity to pause and reflect on what we are designing and building, another outcome of which will be a more committed focus on sustainable and environmentally responsible design solutions.


Your practice was involved with the St Patrick’s Church in Lincoln. What are some of the other most fulfilling projects your practice been involved with over the past year?
Our design aspiration is to create enduring and human-centric architecture. Our portfolio is very broad, encompassing community and civic projects, churches, schools, tertiary education facilities, projects for central government and local government agencies, commercial buildings and large infrastructure projects. A new Visitor Experience Centre in Stewart Island, the Auckland City Rail Link (CRL) project, Grace Apartments Complex in Auckland, Massey University Innovation Science Centre, Linwood Pool Complex, new Public Amenities for the Kaikoura highway, a new Town Square for Greymouth, the MWRC Commercial Office Building in Palmerston North, and Wellington East Girls High School, demonstrate the varying scale and geographic spread of our projects.


What exciting projects we can look forward to?
We are currently pursuing a number of exciting project opportunities which will help revitalise the towns, cities and regions where they are located. Commercial and political sensitivities prevent me from expanding on these at this point, but a number have already secured funding, including some with Provincial Growth Fund support and will be proceeding in due course.


What does the next 12 months have in store for WSP Christchurch?
We are committed to a number of economic stimulus projects across New Zealand and these will be our primary focus in addition to our business as usual project work. Our practice is extremely busy and has a strong forward workload. Our over-arching design ethos is ‘Creating what matters for future generations’ – and this is what drives our design team.

 

 


 

A beacon of sustainability


Ngāi Tahu Property has waved its green wand over the central city, with the residential, commercial and industrial land developer now celebrating a five Green Star rating and 5.5 star NABERSNZ energy efficiency rating for the Pita Te Hori Centre building.

 

PHOTO OLIVIA SPENCER-BOWER OF PROJECT STORY

 

The New Zealand Green Building Council awarded Te Urutī, one of two five-level office buildings in the Pita Te Hori Centre, a 5 Green Star rating.

That confirms the sustainability of its design, construction and completion achieves New Zealand industry excellence.

Meanwhile, the NABERSNZ rating reflects its market-leading energy efficiency performance following occupation by tenants.

The green credentials follow last year’s confirmation of a 4 Green Star rating for Iwikau – the other commercial building in the centre’s first stage.

The centre was designed by Warren and Mahoney Architects in conjunction with services engineers and Green Star professionals from Powell Fenwick and Aurecon.

Ngāi Tahu Property Chief Executive David Kennedy says the ratings are a fantastic result which can ultimately be tied back to following Ngāi Tahu values.

“Sustainability is a key feature of kaitiakitanga; one of our core values which we share with our ultimate owners, Ngāi Tahu whānui-families,” David says.

“The Pita Te Hori Centre also showcases other values including tohungatanga – expertise and rangatiratanga – leadership. Truly living up to those values meant not treating sustainability as a ‘tick-box’ exercise. Everything we did provided real benefits to everyone using the buildings and all of Ōtautahi-Christchurch.”

Those benefits include tenants being able to provide excellent conditions for their staff.

Sustainable technologies lower energy requirements and onsite energy production reduces demand on electricity distribution networks, ensuring the buildings have much lower carbon emissions than standard.

Development Manager James Jackson says the Pita Te Hori Centre features Christchurch’s first district energy system utilising aquifer-sourced heating and cooling through highly efficient heatpump technology.

The scheme provides up to 215,000 kWh of clean heating and cooling capacity each year.

Additionally, solar panels generate up to 106,000 kWh of electricity annually supporting the Pita Te Hori Centre’s peak usage periods.

Smart LED lighting also significantly reduces energy consumption.

Ngāi Tahu Property installed sensor-monitored ventilation ensuring above-code air-quality in the buildings.

Low-flow water fittings are complemented by individual metering for tenancies encouraging further water-use reductions.

“A myriad of clever, sustainable technologies work together across the Pita Te Hori Centre,” James says.

“These environmental solutions were embedded into the design of Te Urutī and Iwikau.”

These features are proving attractive to businesses who insist on healthy, safe and sustainable work environments for their staff.

“We have seen it is not just possible, but desirable, to build sustainable and healthy office spaces, with a range of Government departments and national and international firms choosing to base their South Island operations in our buildings.

“They appreciate and share our commitment to sustainable buildings and workplace practices.”

Located near the historic site of the ancient Puari Pā of Waitaha and Ngāti Māmoe, the Pita Te Hori Centre holds strong spiritual, cultural and historical significance for Ngāi Tūāhuriri, the mana whenua of the area and the wider Ngāi Tahu iwi.

Previously home to the King Edward Barracks and the former Christchurch headquarters of the New Zealand Police, the site also carries historical military and civic significance.


 

Exceptional on Jeffreys: Stanton Builders


Lockdown might have put pressure on timelines but nothing can dim the enthusiasm and experience of local home construction experts Stanton Builders.

 

 

Director Brent Stanton and his team are enjoying the challenge of bringing a current project in Jeffreys Road back on track after the enforced break.

“Every successful project is a collaboration of the designer, my staff and I, and subtrades and it’s always about quality work, no exceptions,” Brent says.

Designed by Keith Ussher Architecture, Brent’s focus on teamwork is the key to bringing the four bedroom two ensuite home to completion in time for its original handover date in November.

Clad in Rockcote Integra Panel and Vertical Cedar with tray roofing, Brent’s favourite feature of the home is the Hard As Rock feature stone wall.

“It’s massive and it looks fantastic.”

Specialising in architectural homes and restaurant fitouts (a recent favourite project is the interior of Chiwahwah Mexican Cantina Bar), the plan is to continue with more of the same type of work although Stanton Builders is very happy to work in the first-home side of the building market too.

“We love the challenge of bringing our quality work to the more cost-conscious homes as well, and we can do this because we are a small company, very flexible and the onsite team comprises of very experienced individuals


 

Architect’s own home entices: Sheppard and Rout


An architect’s owned-designed home becomes an expression of their beliefs and ideals, and this is especially true of the new home of Tim Dagg, Architect at Sheppard and Rout.

 

 

Tim and his family lived on site previously and, for Tim, the context of the site and orientation of the home are always key to the design.

This held true for his own build: the existing north-facing landscape with its mature native plantings, seated terrace and swimming pool have been retained.

With a school and railway line as neighbours, there is no danger of being built out, so Tim designed the entire north end of the house in glass to bring the gorgeous outlook inside.

Materials are low maintenance in natural and neutral hues.

The interior features polished concrete floors, a natural timber feature wall and a balustrade in natural mild steel. Black rubber covers the stair treads, with living room walls and ceiling lined with birch veneer.

Roof and exterior walls are clad in coloursteel, with some easy access areas in stretcher bond brick and in a light stained cedar.

“Our roofer was awarded Roofer of the Year at the Coloursteel Roofing Awards. The job required discussion between the foreman and me and the roofer, and his workmanship and expertise has produced an outstanding result.”

The glass wall is protected by a 1.5m roof overhang to reduce solar gain.

All downstairs doors and windows open fully, while skylights upstairs cross vent and naturally cool. “Energy efficient design is vital in a successful home,” Tim says.


 

Nestled into the hillside: Hofmans Architect x MWH Construction


The seemingly unsolvable challenges of adjacent sites were the ultimate inspiration for NZIA shortlisted Hofmans Architects, when designing these two striking homes in their home village of Arrowtown.

 

 

Suitable for a family of five, each home makes the best of the uplifting views and embodies spatially efficient floor areas, while making a virtue of the site restraints.

The finished homes are not simply a visually pleasing counterpoint to an iconic landscape, but express virtuosity in design as well. The very steep slope has a no-build line as the top two-thirds of the site, a schist seam running through the middle of the site and a tight five metre maximum height plane.

These factors demanded an efficient design set within the lower portion of both sites.

The usual 4m separation was successfully reduced to 2m, which allowed the houses to sit independently of each other whilst increasing the buildable area.

By tilting the side wall and dropping the roof pitch of one property, this allowed the other to achieve good winter sun.

“We are always inspired by our local environment and like to use natural materials that sit well in our surroundings,” Director Maarten Hofmans says.

“The Chinese miners were masters in using local materials that came to hand and creating shelter in an efficient as possible form – something that we have drawn inspiration from. We strive to achieve simple and easily understood solutions. These homes are two simple sculpted shaped forms that nestle into the hillside.”

Corten clads the firewood storage walls and folded cedar wraps the forms, while pushed in recesses define the entry points.

MWH Construction brought the designs to reality and Maarten says, “It was a pleasure to work with MWH, their enthusiasm for a well-executed product always makes us happy as Architects”.

Director of MWH, Myles Herschell says, “the aesthetic of this project was a real drawcard for our team – the houses resemble folded cedar origami. Also, the opportunity to work with Hofmans Architects: their creativity, receptiveness to change and solutions is always a pleasure.”

The philosophy at MWH is to push boundaries, reinterpret styles and challenge notions of what construction can be. Transparency, adaptability, teamwork plus Myles’ own design degree enable MWH to work at the boundaries of architectural inspiration.

 


 

COVID-19’s impact on residential housing: Designer Homes


The world is going through a period of radical change with the arrival of COVID-19 and the economic impacts will be far-reaching. We caught up with Designer Homes Executive Director of Marketing Ajit Kumar about the effect of COVID-19 on New Zealand’s residential housing market.

 

 


Ajit, how does the situation look for purchasing property at the moment?

From data published by QV, we know that residential house values are increasing in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown, and property investments are still more popular than bank investments.

Current interest rates offer little reward for retaining cash investments and property is still considered a safe bet that doesn’t experience large down-swings, even during a recession or a pandemic.


What would your advice be to first-time home buyers?

The same advantages still apply – you avoid paying rent and capital gains secure your future.

Plus, you can’t beat the autonomy of owning your own home, avoiding the interference of a landlord.

As per a recent report released by Trade Me Property, first home buyers are flooding the property market to take advantage of low interest rates and the Reserve Bank scrapping LVR restrictions.


What is your take on getting into property as a new investor?

Examine your investment time-frame. Property looks to be a solid investment option if you are looking at an 8-10 year horizon.

Even taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Zealand property market seems to be comparatively better compared to other sectors: home loan rates are low and expected to reduce, while the current global uncertainly means Kiwis abroad might return to their roots, and either buy or rent, so there is an opportunity for investors to benefit.


How is Designer Homes placed to help with decisions about property investment?

We’ve been established since 2016 with our head office in Christchurch and our branch office in Auckland.

Since our inception we’ve had just one goal: to create affordable, innovative homes that reflect customers tastes and the way they live their lives.


What advantages can Designer Homes offer a first or second home buyer or investors?

You choose from a range of very affordable packages – house and land, or house only.

With Designer Homes as the central stakeholder, customers have a say in the architectural style of their home.

Emphasis on quality materials means the home will still look superb thirty years from now.

There is total flexibility in colour palettes, and you can access your construction status from anywhere using your unique I.D.

Select customers get Smart Home Options at no additional charge.

We also offer amenities like central air conditioning, and clients specify interior corners, facilities, ceiling, washroom and kitchen utilities.

We are handling 35 residential projects in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown and we would love prospective clients to view our work.

For more details please get in touch on enquiry@designerhomes.kiwi.nz.


 

Prestigious timber projects


Timber’s benefits make for a lengthy list – spanning both form and function and, while its longevity of use speaks of its function, it’s the NZ Wood Resene 2020 Timber Design Awards that speak of its form.

ST. PATRICK’S CHURCH

 

The Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown may have put paid to the celebratory event for the highly-acclaimed, annual showcase of the innovative, structural and aesthetic use of timber, but local winners of this prestigious event have been announced.

Haus Expresso (Dalman Architects), Arvida Living Well Park Lane (Jasmax), St Patricks Church (WSP Opus), CSO Centre, Christchurch Town Hall – Ron Ball Studio (Warren & Mahoney), Boat Shed – Lyttelton (Christchurch City Council), Farmers Corner Pavilion Ashburton (PTL Consultants) and the James Hay Theatre Timber Floor – Christchurch Town Hall (Timbers of NZ) are just some of the exceptional local projects to receive awards this year.

St Patricks Church (pictured) offers a stunning example of how structural timber elements can be expressed as the main architectural feature of a building.

Utilising New Zealand grown radiata pine with a clear coat finish, the timber creates a warm feel for the 250 square metre church.

The Lincoln project by WSP Opus was the winner of a new category – Public Design.

It was also the proud winner of an Interior Architecture award in the NZIA’s 2020 Canterbury Architecture Awards (page 79).

“Once again, the quality of entries is exceptional,” judges agree.

“More and more novel, innovative applications of timber are submitted every year. The quality, design, materials and build philosophies employed demonstrate the evolving and imaginative use of timber in New Zealand and indeed, around the world.”


 

The architecture of transportation hubs: WSP Architecture


It’s never been so important to attract and entertain visitors in our New Zealand towns and cities.

By Matt Sloper, Architect at WSP Architecture

A common problem faced by visitors and locals alike is access to transportation infrastructure.

Nationwide, councils are now looking to explore infrastructure developments designed to transform town centres, eliminating congestion issues, improving accessibility, providing new public amenity spaces and enhancing the visitor experience.

The key design driver for a transportation hub is a strong urban focus, resulting in high quality solutions that sit sympathetically within the urban context, address the surrounding street frontages, are inviting and safe, allow easy permeability through the site, provide added community amenity, and are well integrated with the surrounding neighbourhood.

Where natural beauty surrounds the sites; an appropriate design response is for the built insertions to be complementary with, but subservient to, the broader natural environment.

Texture, light, shade, materiality and colour are carefully considered to give the exteriors a sculptural quality, and one which adds interest whilst also reducing the overall visual impact.

These hubs service mixed transportation modes, including built-in capacity to accommodate greater numbers of electric vehicles in future.

Transportation hubs should embody connections with local culture and history, creating a distinctly local flavour that speaks of its place and reinforces the destination’s reputation as a meeting place and social and economic centre.

Although responding to a pragmatic functional need they make a positive contribution to the character and quality of New Zealand towns and cities for all to enjoy.


 

Subsidence and its risks


Post-quake every day New Zealanders were introduced to a number of new terms relating to engineering and ground movement.

 

 

One of those terms was subsidence; the gradual downward movement or sinking of an area of land which can cause the foundation of a home to gradually settle in one area or across its entire footprint.

Subsidence can result in expensive structural repairs, which may be a deal breaker for many house hunters.

For those homeowners looking to sell their property, the structural defects resulting from ground subsidence can significantly reduce their final sale price.

Mainmark Ground Engineering Sales and Business Development Manager James O’Grady fills us in on how to protect ourselves.

“While astute homeowners and buyers will recognise some of the warning signs of potential subsidence, major structural faults or safety hazards may not be visible at first glance,” James says.

“Extensive foundation damage should be fully assessed by a suitably accredited structural or geotechnical engineer, to identify the cause, how extensive the settlement is and whether the underlying cause of settlement requires fixing,”

The common causes of foundation ground issues often relate to moisture in the soil beneath the home’s foundations, he explains.

Different types of soil (such as reactive clays, sand and silt, fill, and organic soils) behave in different ways to changing moisture levels, so consider the following when investigating the likely cause:

• Water ponding around the house
• Excessive moisture leaking into the foundation ground, often due to broken pipes, making it too wet
• Invasive tree roots searching for water, making it too dry.

In many cases, foundation issues can be resolved quickly and efficiently using modern ground engineering solutions that are less invasive and costly than traditional underpinning.

Fixing the problem for the long term requires correcting any issues that might have caused the foundation damage and this may also involve consulting a plumber or other expert.

James recommends CSIRO Publishing’s Foundation Maintenance and Footing Performance: A homeowner’s Guide as a valuable reference and says that if signs of subsidence have appeared, you need to consult structural and geotechnical engineers or ground engineering experts.

Mainmark has treated more than 11,000 sites throughout Australasia, from single-storey homes to large commercial buildings.

For more information and advice about ground engineering issues and remediation solutions, contact Mainmark on 0800 873 835.