Apartments in a Rural Setting. Mike Greer Homes show the way

A ‘satellite’ residential area designated a Special Housing Area (SHA) under the government’s Housing Accord is in the wine country village of Huapai, West Auckland where Mike Greer Homes has recently completed an apartment complex in Dida Drive.

Located in the Huapai Triangle which will ultimately have 1200 dwellings including a retirement village, the walk-up apartments, comprising twelve two-bed, north facing units comply with the SHA’s Precinct Rules that the developments include affordable housing to address Auckland’s acute housing shortage.

The Urban Design and Architectural arm of the multi-disciplinary practice of Woods was engaged to complete feasibility designs – initially for seven traditional two-storey terrace units; this was later extended to twelve, two bed apartments on Mike Greer Homes’ 1800sqm site. 

Bounded by three roads, vehicle access for the development is provided from the rear of the units meaning all are north facing to maximise solar exposure. Surface parking for residents and guests at the back avoids the “shed” appearance of a car port. The rear parking makes for an attractive frontage overlooking a private space to the north with a landscaped green street adjacent.

Woods’ Designer/Architect Paul Edmond worked closely with Mike Greer Homes’ development and construction managers, creating a repeating design identical on the ground and first floors using mainly timber framed construction. 

While the units may seem small, they offer alternative and now more popular compact spaces for a large segment of the population who do not want four bedroom, 200sqm homes on a large site. Auckland’s residential extension areas such as those in the Huapai Triangle have demonstrated that apartments don’t need to be viewed solely in urban locations. Statistics New Zealand has noted that by 2030, 30% of households will be one person homes or homes for single parent families or retired couples who find smaller units an attractive option. All the apartments in Mike Greer Homes’ Huapai development have been sold. The six ground floor apartments were bought by Kiwibuild and are accessible for ambulant/disabled occupiers. 

Paul Edmond says the special features include the ground floor units being suitable for wheelchair access and the large north-facing patios and covered decks for outdoor living with good accessibility from the living/dining areas. Each apartment has a generous storage locker, adjacent to the front door with five cubic metres of storage volume.

The design features two bedrooms on the south side with an open plan living/dining/kitchen area leading onto the decks and patios. A central “service” zone groups kitchen, bathroom and laundry and the two bedrooms are reached by short corridors, removing the need for opening directly from the open plan living area.

The simple, monopitch roofs extend to cover the north facing decks and there are shared stair and storage lockers recessed deeply on the façade to define each two-storey block of units. espan® 470 was the chosen profile from Metalcraft for the roof and some areas of wall cladding, providing a standing seam cladding in appearance with a wide pan, strong vertical rib and concealed fixings.

The twelve apartments have fire rating and acoustic performance features also.

Woods Urban Design and Architecture Services

Woods is a New Zealand, employee-owned, multi-disciplinary consultancy with offices in Auckland and Christchurch.

Established in 1970, Woods has a team of 143 specialists in infrastructure, surveying, urban design and architecture, providing a collaborative design approach to complex problems, delivering solutions, from green, grey and brownfield developments to townhouses, industrial estates and community developments.

Paul Edmond, who established the Architecture and Urban Design team with Woods in 2013, is a registered architect and an accredited HomeStar practitioner. He is also  the Auckland NZIA Branch Urban Design Group convenor which advocates for better design and communities.

Woods urban design and architecture services include structure and master planning, concept development plans, urban design policy, design feasibility and residential and town centre development with wide community consultation.

Paul Edmond
Telephone: 021 181 4016
Mike Greer Homes
Roofing Manufacturer and installer: 
Metalcraft Roofing - Hobsonville
Telephone: 09 444 1813
Material: espan® 470
Colour: COLORSTEEL® Flaxpod®