Jasmax plays Host to 2016 Design Charrette

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Braydon Harwood

Jasmax played host to a design charrette as a part of this year’s NZ Architecture Week. The event was organised by Jasmax Architectural Graduates Gwena Gilbert and Nick Johnston, who gave the design challenge a richer level of meaning by bringing together expertise from architecture and design firms across Auckland to address a real challenge that Housing New Zealand are currently facing.

Working with Paul Gilberd, General Manager NZ Housing Foundation, the brief was based on a real life site, the Avondale Community Church; which asked teams to look at built environment solutions to either repurpose the site’s buildings or create a new model of living to address the housing crisis in Auckland. Nick and Gwena were drawn to this topic from the work they have been doing at the Manurewa and Te Puea Maraes; where they are currently providing shelter to large numbers of their community. Nick said they saw the charrette as “a great opportunity to congregate a think-tank of designers to amass some professional insight into a very relevant social issue.”

Teams were challenged to provide architectural solutions that appeal to the unique requirements of the facility’s stakeholders, whilst best utilising the spaces currently governed by the Church. Paul Gilbert highlighted the wider significance of the brief, asking teams, “What can we do with spare land that we have within community organisations that are willing to make that land available for a multitude of different purposes for community, for housing, and for homeless?”

We would like to congratulate the team from Cheshire Architects for their winning submission, titled “North Block”; which utilised as much of the existing building on site, whilst generating feasible options for future income. The team consisted of Dajiang Tai, Leah Shao, George Gregory and Ellie Green.

Jasmax’s team consisted of Meg Back, Tim Robinson, Olivia Collinson and Kate Kerr. The team conceptualised a new flexible hall and arts performance space which provides both a new meeting space for the Churches using the site, and also potential for hiring revenue and community activities. Associate Principal and Urban Designer, Tim Robinson, reflected, “We started our interpretation of this project with ‘the who’: the people that you’re trying to serve: how that correlated to what they need, what they do and what they’re most interested in. The building program evolved from the relationships of the organisations and community involved in the site already.”

Nick and Gwena would like to thank the NZIA, judges and all of the teams that participated for their contribution to the charrette.

Participating firms/organisations:

Jasmax, Architectus, AUT, PAC, RTA, Aurecon, DMA, SGA, Cheshire, University of Auckland, Architectus, AUT, PAC, RTA, Aurecon, DMA, SGA, Cheshire, University of Auckland.

Judges: Dr Ann Poulsen – sociologist at the University of Auckland, Paul Gilberd – NZHF, Phil Quirke – Chair of Avondale Baptist Church

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