Merchant Quarter is a new mixed-use development between the New Lynn Railway Station and Public Library. The development was an integral part of the then Waitakere City Council’s vision to create a vibrant, walkable mixed use urban environment.
The site is divided into two developments – creatively named Building A and Building B. Building A is mixed ground floor retail and upper floor healthcare, while Building B is mixed retail with car parking above. The original design included the potential for future residential extension to Building B, this option has been taken up and construction is currently under way on a series of duplexes and a 10 storey apartment tower.
Aesthetically, the buildings both make unique reference to their contexts. Building A’s façade references the area’s well-known heritage of manufacturing, with specific reference to the ceramic industry. The edges to the panels have been colour-matched to vintage Crown Lynn plates.
Building B uses weathering steel as its primary cladding material, referencing the car manufacturing industry and the iron oxide found on nearby west-coast beaches. It also incorporates sculptural ventilation ‘fins’, inspired by a classic 1969 Holden Monaro – a west Auckland cultural icon.
Overall, the two buildings highlight the power of integration. The design team worked together to create buildings that connect their occupants with each other, and the world around them, through strong integration with public transport. In this sense, Merchant Quarter is a leading example of forward thinking development.