The desire to save an aged Pohutakawa drove the design


Sometimes doing the right thing brings unanticipated dividends. In the case of this urban garage and apartment project in Wellington, the desire to save an aged Pohutukawa meant the form had to be stretched across the site, creating a slim black box with sharp-edged street appeal. 

The project was conceived as a solution to two problems: what to do with a badly dilapidated garage, and how to cater for regularly visiting country-based parents? The answer delivered by Lower Hutt-based architectural designers Intelligent Design is a clever combination, with a new two-car garage below, and a compact one-bedroom city pad above, including living/kitchen and ensuite.

For the clients, a key consideration was that the structure blends in with an existing timber fence and surrounding Pohutukawas. Taking a cue from those dark trunks, black dominates the palette, from the black-stained cedar cladding, to the steeply pitched steel roof, to the artfully incorporated Metro Series ThermalHEART windows and doors, all powdercoated in Matt Black.

The choice of ThermalHEART was an easy one: the apartment has been given generous glazing, and the clients were keen to retain winter warmth. On the street side, wide sliding doors were used to make the most of late afternoon sun and views of the western hills, while the designers again drew on the Metro Series for the awning windows and the raked and standard fixed lights.

The result is a snug, darkly stylish nest that sits easily in its leafy surroundings.

Region Wellington

A snug, darkly stylish nest in leafy surrounds

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