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Terraced townhouses with a distinctive saw-tooth roof maximise use of a narrow inner city site

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Presented with a tight, height-restricted infill site, Leuschke Kahn Architects came up with a creative solution for their developer client and the future homeowners

Terraced townhouses with a distinctive saw-tooth roof maximise use of a narrow inner city site Discover this article's resources 0


As more demands are put on the land in our city fringe suburbs, sections once taken up with single dwellings are being re-developed for multiple residences and apartments. These developments often call for imaginative designs that both meet the needs for greater housing density and respect the existing neighbours at the same time.

At first sight, this narrow 506m2 Auckland site, zoned for mixed use, seemed like an opportunity to develop a medium-rise residential tower. But there were height restrictions attached due to the close proximity of the neighbours, says architect Paul Leuschke, of Leuschke Kahn Architects.

"A tall apartment building wasn't an option. However, because of its position high on the ridge, there was the possibility of getting great views out over the suburb and harbour beyond if the new design could see over the apartment building immediately downhill to the site," says Leuschke.

After considering several options for his clients, Phi Group, Leuschke eventually settled on a row of contemporary, high-end terraced townhouses.

"At that time, Auckland hadn't really embraced the idea of terraced housing – we simply didn't have the planning rules for them," he says.


"It was either a stand-alone house or apartments. There was nothing in between, which is a shame, especially in these fringe suburbs where terraced housing would sit more sympathetically alongside the traditional housing stock.

"Given the circumstances of the site, I felt it was more important to provide daylight and views to the living spaces by inverting the traditional model and having the bedrooms on the lower floor."

The result is a four-storey structure of five units, each comprising double internal garaging on the ground floor, two bedrooms – both with ensuite bathrooms – plus the main entrance on the first floor, and a light-filled, double-height living volume and mezzanine nook on the second.

The building is topped off with a distinctive saw-tooth roof profile – a nod to some of the old factories in the area, but also a practical way of conforming to the council restrictions and at the same time maximising the site.

"The roof is clad with a ribbon of standing-seam profile aluminium that flows up and down each peak of the roofline, then folds down the front façade to street level, following the recession plane, giving the building its distinctive look."

Leuschke says he drew his inspiration for the interiors from the iconic New York loft-style designs, with an added industrial edge.

"The base palette is very simple – wide-plank wooden floors and white walls. Metal mesh screens and raw, blackened metal staircases, with matching fireplaces and flues, together provide the industrial highlights," he says.

The kitchens are black, too, and sit under the elevated mezzanines that are located beneath the apex of the peaked roof.

The architect says he believes the result provides something quite unique for the area, and for the wider Auckland housing market.

"These residences have most of the advantages of a stand-alone house but with the convenience of a lock-and-leave apartment – a perfect inner-city pad for an urban lifestyle."

First published date: 21 December 2017

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Credit List

Project Scanlan Lofts, Auckland
Architect Paul Leuschke, Leuschke Kahn Architects
Developer Phi Group
Builder and apartment interior designer Phi Construction
Civil engineer JNG Engineering
Cladding UlltraClad 200mm Shadoline Weatherboard
Roofing Euroline Doublelok from Steel & Tube
Lighting Lighting Direct, Alpha Lighting
Air conditioning Mitsubitshi
Kitchen design Bespoke on Khyber
Kitchen manufacturer Custom Kitchens
Window/door joinery Ascot Aluminium, APL Joinery
Tiling European Ceramics, Tile Space, Tile Warehouse
Flooring Solid oak from Timber Floor Solution
Wallpaper Resene
Paints Resene and Porter's Paints
Splashback Tile Warehouse
Oven, cooktop, dishwasher Scholtes
Refrigeration Fisher & Paykel