Ponsonby has undergone significant change in the past decade, with the area gaining a vibrancy, colour and diversity unlike anywhere else in Auckland. When combined with the area’s heritage and its city fringe location this urban regeneration has turned Ponsonby into one of Auckland’s most desirable locations.
In 2010 we were given the opportunity to work on a new project situated on Ponsonby Rd - between Richmond Rd and Mackelvie Street. It was important to the owners that the project reinforced the growing demand of Ponsonby as a destination for shopping and entertainment, and introduced an attractive offering of commercial office space to the suburb. Now, in 2015, the completed four storey building is a highly desirable, viable and ultimately profitable, commercial development.
The building has attracted a fantastic mix of clients; it currently houses three of 2015’s Best Award Gold Pin winners.
On the ground floor there’s ten retail stores, providing high-end fashion and housing two restaurants and a café. This careful articulation of hospitality and retail spaces is home to two Gold Pin winners, restaurant Miss Moonshine, and the flagship store of lingerie outfitter, ‘Lonely’. While on the aboveground levels, office space in Ponsonby has proven incredibly popular, with Icebreaker relocating their global headquarters into the building. Occupying the second floor, their soulful workplace designed by Jasmax Interiors also received a Best Award Gold Pin.
The history, culture and aesthetic of Ponsonby have all played a crucial part in the evolution of Lot 3. Anchored by the adjacent heritage building, the development takes its cues in colour, form, massing and texture from its context. The project was a challenge on many levels, from adhering to such stringent urban design and materiality principles, to preserving architectural integrity with such a high level of adaptability. We worked with the client, council and heritage specialists to interrogate how each of these challenges could be met.
With such scale in an urban environment, the building needed to visually blend with the local context. To do this we looked closely to Ponsonby Road as a Heritage Precinct. Ponsonby Road has a street rhythm that is set up by its historical grain. In order to make the new building fit within this context we needed to break it down into ‘Ponsonby sized pieces’. To do this the façade was strongly influenced in terms of bulk, form, colour and texture by The Red Brick Building at 134 Ponsonby Road. The project team met with Auckland’s Urban Design Panel to ensure the design both enhanced Ponsonby’s heritage profile and contributed to the urban revitalisation of this popular inner city suburb.
Laneways, accessible from Ponsonby, Mackelvie and Richmond, intersect the buildings, meeting in an ‘urban yard’ which allows for café activities that maximise the north-western orientation. The laneway and alley introduces greater permeability through the precinct, adding a sense of discovery along the route.
It’s this laneway that gives access to The Street Food Collective’s continually rotating vendor line-up, and the fixed abode of Miss Moonshine. Dimensions of the lane, alley and yard spaces also reflect detailed study of existing Ponsonby Road patterns. The largest ‘commercial’ bulk of the building is pulled centrally, reducing its impact on the residential neighbourhood and Ponsonby Road.
The building itself has a floorplate over 1000m2, and generous floor to floor height. Combined, these attributes provide an internal space that is highly flexible, and so is more attractive to a wider tenancy mix. In addition, large external windows and a sky lit internal atrium, ensures all floor spaces are within 12 metres of natural light, while sustainable design features include a highly efficient thermal envelope and rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing and plant irrigation. Two levels of basement parking provide over 100 carparks.
The development celebrates the honesty of material and purpose evident in the area’s working-class roots, respectfully integrating into Ponsonby’s rich urban fabric, and preserves panoramic views encompassing the Waitakere ranges, Waitemata harbour, the CBD and Mt Eden.
- 2015 Property Council NZ Award - Commercial - Excellence