Fast Forward: From Kiwibuild to co-ops

02 July 2018
174-Batay-Csorba Melbourne-Edit
Medium-density housing by Batay-Csorba Architects

Our Government is aiming to produce 100,000 affordable houses in the next decade. But how will they achieve this? Hear the Honourable Phil Twyford outline their plans, including Kiwibuild, at the upcoming Spring Fast Forward lecture series presented by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland.

Nine weekly events involving experts in the field of architecture, urban design and urban planning will feature a diverse range of topics from Kiwibuild and prefabrication through to co-operative housing, as well as reigniting the debate about the best ways to do medium-density housing.

The series includes Housing New Zealand’s Manager of Urban Design, Sue Evans discussing ways of fostering better social outcomes, their new apartment projects and the use of Cross Laminated Timber.

Local and international architects will showcase award-winning multi-unit, medium-density projects both here and overseas, and demonstrate what makes these complexes work well.

The best ways to use the land recently acquired at the Unitec site will be discussed as well as the rise of co-operative housing, including schemes planned for New Zealand.

All presentations target issues relevant to architecture and planning and are intended to foster critical discussion and debate. The full list of events follows:

• 18 July – Pamela Bell, PrefabNZ. Engineering Lecture Theatre 401-439.

We have been building New Zealand houses in much the same way for the past 150 years: a couple of blokes hammering sticks together in a paddock. Yet despite embracing the benefits of, for example, pre-nailed framing, we remain slow in adopting alternatives such as panelisation and volumes. Pamela Bell is the founder and CEO of PrefabNZ. Set up in 2010, the organisation represents a range of industries and professionals advocating prefabrication. Saving both time and money, prefabrication can improve building quality by constructing components offsite under controlled conditions. This method can also increase safety and reduce waste. Pamela's Master of Architecture from Victoria University of Wellington focused on prefabrication and resulted in the book Kiwi Prefab: Cottage to Cutting Edge, co-authored with Mark Southcombe (Balasoglau Books, 2013). Her talk will introduce us to the principles of prefabrication in a New Zealand context, making connections to overseas innovations in the field. She will demonstrate how prefabrication can become a major player in dealing with our housing crisis. In addition, Pamela will explain how this approach is 'smarter, faster, cleaner and greener' than traditional construction methods.

• 25 July – Presentations. Co-operative Housing: Auckland Experiences. Engineering Lecture Theatre 401-439. Global interest in co-operative housing is on the rise and already proving a popular arrangement in Europe. As a result we are seeing an increase in groups of individuals collaborating to develop dwellings suited to their own needs. Often cooperative housing schemes will also comprise indoor and outdoor common spaces with a view to nurturing a sense of community. Last year we heard from Melbourne architect James Legge regarding the Nightingale model, where participants act as their own development agency. The design is fine-tuned around both their particular concerns and economic options for creating quality outcomes through sustainable practices. This year, Auckland architects Prue Fea, Thom Gill and Marianne Riley will introduce us to the projects they are involved in. They will discuss the benefits and concerns of cooperative housing, including financials, planning, and the dynamics of dealing with diverse groups of people.

• 1 August – Panel discussion. What should happen on the Unitec site? Engineering Lecture Theatre 401-439.

The government recently announced their acquisition of a large chunk of the Auckland Unitec site. Will this become Hobsonville Point mark two? While not as large as the Hobsonville development, the Unitec site is a considerable size with the potential to contribute 3,000 dwellings to the Kiwibuild programme. Stretching between the Point Chevalier and Mount Albert shopping centres, the site offers green spaces, heritage buildings and convenient public transport connections. Furthermore, the new development may also be managed by the Hobsonville Land Company, now HLC. This panel discussion will consider how the site should be developed. Panelists will also discuss how the interests of neighbouring communities, adjoining land-owners and mana whenua can add to a fully integrated urban community. Reporting on his Hobsonville Point research will be resident and Professor of Architecture, Errol Harrhoff. Errol will facilitate a discussion between Isthmus, Construkt Architects, Context Architects, ASC Architects and others.

• 8 August – Jodi and Andrew Batay-Csorba (Toronto). Engineering Lecture Theatre 401-439.

Take a look at the work of this young Canadian firm and you will discover how well medium-density is doing in Toronto. Founded in 2010, Batay-Csorba Architects have received many awards and are widely published. Their work ranges across installation, interior design, architecture and urban design. Through careful design of sites and delight with materiality, they create great interior spaces and make positive contributions to the urban environment. Their three to four storey duplex houses are excellent examples of that typology. This session presents timely insights as we come to grips with possibilities unleashed by Auckland's new inner city zones in the Unitary Plan. Jodi and Andrew's visit to New Zealand has been organised in collaboration with the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

• 15 August – Hendrik Tieben (Hong Kong): Towards better integration of transport, housing, community space in Hong Kong. Design Theatre 423-348.

Hong Kong, Macau and the Pearl River Delta Region are so densely developed they can be thought of as planetary-scale mega cities. Hendrik Tieben, architect and Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, Chinese University of Hong Kong, specialises in urban design. He will discuss how Hong Kong's housing, transport infrastructure and public spaces can be better integrated to create sustainable communities. The aim is to enhance the experience of the city's inhabitants, empowering them to contribute ideas to the creation of place. These are major challenges considering the scale of the urbanised environment and the size of the population. The intensification of Auckland through the Unitary Plan pales in comparison to the megalopolises of this part of the Pacific Rim. However, we will gain valuable insights from Tieben’s work towards the life-enhancement of people in the heart of super-dense urban environments.

• 29 August – The Honourable Phil Twyford: Housing, urban development and transport. Engineering Lecture Theatre 401-439.

As both Minister of Housing and Urban Development, and Minister of Transport, the Honourable Phil Twyford has considerable involvement with urban issues throughout the country. Chief among these are housing crisis concerns and the development of public transport. We have seen significant shifts in government policy following the formation of the Labour-led government in 2017. With an aim to produce 100,000 'affordable' houses over the next decade, the Kiwibuild strategy is a predominant component of this policy. Major announcements on light rail in Auckland have also proved a prominent feature. Join us to hear the Minister discuss current issues and new initiatives.

• 5 September – Orchid Atimalala. Design Theatre 423-348.

Graduate of the University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning, Orchid Atimalala was recently appointed Chair of the Auckland War Memorial Museum Trust Board. She becomes both the first woman Chair of the Board, and first person of Pacific descent to occupy the seat. Orchid's near 30-year career in the planning industry includes an extensive background working with local government organisations. Orchid specialises in community and stakeholder consultation, and relationship management with local and central government. She has worked in a variety of strategic advisory and governance roles including various Auckland Councils and currently the Ministry of Education. In this talk, Orchid will reflect on her career and experiences. She will also discuss the Museum's direction and aspirations as it seeks to embrace diversity in recognition of Auckland's multicultural demographic.

• 19 September – Panel discussion. Architects discuss design for medium-density. Engineering Lecture Theatre 401-439.

As part of this year's Festival of Architecture, winners of the Multi-unit Housing category at the 2018 NZIA Auckland Branch Awards discuss their work. Other medium-density projects on the drawing board will also be discussed by a panel comprising Stevens Lawson Architects, Monk McKenzie, TOA Architects, Paul Brown Architects, Jasmax and Hunter Hindmarsh. This session will look at examples of good design, demonstrating what makes terraced housing and apartment complexes work well. Can very small, affordable apartments be successful? What is the best way of providing successful outdoor space? How do we design lobbies that promote neighbourliness? Can apartment buildings establish a sense of community? Are townhouses an efficient use of land?

• 26 September – Sue Evans, Housing New Zealand. Engineering Lecture Theatre 401-439.

The government's recent 'housing stocktake' paints a sobering picture of the housing crisis, highlighting the social costs and benefits of housing quality. The current shortfall of housing in Auckland alone is estimated to be at around 28,000 dwellings. Sue Evans is Manager of Urban Design at HNZ. She has extensive experience in medium density housing, public space design, city planning, design review, design education and property development. Sue has helped fashion new places in our cities and has been involved with policy change to encourage better place-shaping. Her presentation outlines case studies from HNZ where real quality and liveability gains have been made within medium density typologies. Sue is an enthusiastic advocate for smart urban design and its potential to create better functioning places with improved safety, less crime and greater social connectivity. For HNZ developments, this fosters increased pride and better social outcomes. This talk will also profile recently consented apartment projects in Auckland and Wellington including the use of Cross Laminated Timber.

Fast Forward Spring 2018
Doing medium density well 2
6.30pm, the University of Auckland.
All lectures are free and open to the public.
For further information visit


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