Text description provided by the architects. This is an urban regeneration retail project in the chic shopping precinct of Ponsonby Road, Auckland, New Zealand.
While predominantly a new shopping building, the two taller units also house commercial office tenancies accessed from a rear laneway, adding to the mixed use of the project. The brief extended beyond the walls of the building – requiring the activation of the back side of existing heritage shops to develop additional retail frontages for shopping and food and beverage activities.
An urban program evolved which saw a solution in establishing a network of carefully placed laneways, courtyards and connections linking into the existing pedestrian framework. This small shopping centre became an urban catalyst to the regeneration of under-utilised service areas of the existing buildings.
Formally, the building responds to the scale and proportion of the Victorian row shop houses within the precinct. One and two-story forms are generated from the widths and heights of the Edwardian and Victorian precedents in the neighbourhood.
A facade veils these forms in a layer of perforated white cement sheets that moderate sun and daylight while also controlling the visibility in and out of the retail and office spaces above. The perforated pattern has been abstracted from the ‘demark’ pattern, also prominent in the decoration of surrounding heritage buildings.
The resultant building provides highly visible and prominent shops while activating a new network of laneways and rear courtyards that facilitate new retail opportunities on the former service side of existing shops.