HOME OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2021: ISSUE 2105
It was well before the latest lockdown that we decided on an overarching theme for this issue: we wanted to explore our cities and how residential design is shaping and defining how we live in urban — and suburban — environments, often on sites carved from others, and in buildings of verticality where a synergy and delineation between community and privacy is paramount.
As we got closer to sending this issue to print, level four started to drag on. The daily 1pm updates a somewhat dreaded — yet anticipated — break in the middle of the day; team video meetings illuminated by light-hearted banter and the antics of children and pets — the primary school child, adorned with an array of hats, walking silently yet theatrically back and forth behind his father who was chatting away on camera, the five-year-old who made the ‘loser’ sign to the team in its entirety … the list goes on.
There’s something about being home for extended periods of time that’s both refreshing and very much the opposite; it highlights the importance of well-designed spaces — those of prospect and refuge, of openness and privacy — a notion that is, arguably, more challenging to achieve well in highly populated urban areas.
We explore projects that faced multiple constraints — some, slivers of sites that were once much larger; others, apartments and townhouses. On page 40, architect Christina van Bohemen considers the latest NZIA award-winning multi-unit developments around the motu, while on page 110 Novak + Middleton conceives a family home that cascades down a particularly difficult steep and narrow site in Wellington’s Brooklyn. In Christchurch, a house straddles the divide between commercial and residential precincts — a bookend of sorts; both the end and the beginning (page 96). In Auckland, a house designed to blend in with its heritage surrounds is formed around a central courtyard of bonsai and greenery.
As we look ahead now to 2022 and a future likely to be defined by vaccine passports and uncertain travel, it is local inspiration that pays heed to a certain grounding; the Kiwi spirit that consistently draws a line beneath our emerging vernacular.
For now, though, it is barista-made flat whites that are enhancing the lore of life in lockdown.