Of brick and soul

Ockham Residential’s Mark Todd speaks to HOME’s editor, Clare Chapman, about Ponsonby’s latest residential development — a glistening landmark building due for completion next year.

At a factory 20kms inland from Venice, after searching for almost four years, Mark Todd found the perfect glazed brick. It changes colour all day, every day. Under the morning sun, it’s a gleaming emerald green, like a summer walk to Karekare Falls. As the day unfolds, it’s forest green, then dark olive, then almost black — the colour of a midwinter slog through Great Barrier’s bush. There’s glimmers of Whatipū greys, and fleeting moments of Waiheke navy and indigo. 

The Greenhouse is due for completion in mid 2023.

Soon, 150,000 of these iridescent green-glazed bricks will adorn a new landmark building in Tāmaki Makaurau, known, appropriately, as The Greenhouse.

For Mark, the man behind this development, the quest to deliver the 101-apartment building just off Ponsonby Road was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the chance to bring the people of Auckland Ockham Residential’s best work yet — a building with soul and of unwavering beauty underpinned by considered design. 

This bold development will both fit in and stand out.

It’s a place that’s meant to “belong, but not in an arbitrary way … it’s our ambition to build one of Auckland’s most beloved buildings,” Mark explains. “We strive to make thoughtful, distinctively residential buildings that are as beautiful as the landscapes they sit within.”

Inside, the material palette is as well considered as the exterior; it references nature and seeks to bring it indoors. Stone kitchen benchtops meet timber floors and cabinetry, while bathroom tiling and fittings are classic and elegant — the colours and textures drawing inspiration from the landscapes of Aotearoa. 

The kitchens are to be designed with floor-to-ceiling American walnut cabinetry and black slate benchtops.

“I think buildings like this are important for Auckland’s identity. People are proud of landmark buildings in their cities. I love it when you go to a new city and it’s got a great skyline — that’s one of the reasons people travel. They go to see buildings and the collective effects they have on atmosphere, energy, and identity. It gets back to character. The Greenhouse will convey identity to its neighbourhood and city; inside, it will become known as an excellent place to live, covetable for its amenity, location, and character. It’s a building that will age gracefully.”

Optimised for light, privacy and easy urban living, The Greenhouse apartments combine contemporary calm with the large windows and high ceilings of times past.

The development of The Greenhouse has been somewhat of a personal, and slightly obsessive, journey for Mark, to ensure every detail was perfect — most notably, of course, the signature brick. Visit the Ockham Residential office — for any reason — and you’re likely to encounter a brick sample board. Expect to chat to Mark, and have a wander outside during which time he’ll proudly show you the way the green glaze changes colour in the light. There’s a beauty in the brick, and in the passion of the man who found it.

 

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