Beaumont Quarter: Complex living

A stone's throw from the urban buzz, these homes offer stylish living in a landmark location, writes CHARLOTTE COSSAR.

Clean lines, subtle spaces and glazing that blur inside and outdoors will deliver occupants of these homes a relaxed and open experience.

Ian Moore of EngelenMoore, Sydney, has designed 71 homes for phase III of the Beaumont Quarter Development in central Auckland. The first two phases of the development, opposite Victoria Park, designed by Nick Barratt-Boyes of South Pacific Architecture, Wellington, and Dominic Papa of S333, Amsterdam, are under way with the first homes being ready for residents in a couple of weeks.

The last site, at the western end of the development, of 23,665sq m, was challenging. Not only were there historic parts of the site that needed to be preserved, but Moore also had to achieve a mix of housing that appealed to the discerning Auckland buyer.

Moore says: "This project is definitely urban renewal. Every major city in the world is going through it. Auckland had to do it at some stage and the population is growing so you need to move people into the city to take advantage of the infrastructure that's already there. People have changed their perception of living in the city."

These are New Zealand-born Moore's first homes to be built here. However, convincing him to partake in the project wasn't too hard.

Nigel McKenna, principal of Beaumont Quarter developer Melview Developments, met with Moore to discuss the complex that was design-focused from the beginning, and according to McKenna a mutual respect for designing a high-quality, multi-unit residential complex cemented the partnership.

Moore says when he met with McKenna his interest was aroused. "That's because my grandfather Cyril had worked at the gasworks for many years as a boilermaker. I also played cricket in Victoria Park so I know the site pretty well."

Moore has produced designs for one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, which range in size from 96sq m to 162sq m. He says individuality is promoted using subtle difference in detail and colour, and he believes in a mantra of rigour and simplicity, space, light and ventilation.

"In Auckland you have those last three elements in generous quantities, especially ventilation. Our planning always allows for cross ventilation. In phase III homes there are large areas of glazing for natural light; we have also tried to make the spaces incredibly simple."

Using lightweight steel and glass with a timber structure, the homes have simple floorplans, clean shapes and timeless materials.

Behind the sleek exterior is an ageless canvas that can adapt to suit most interior design tastes.

"The detailing of these coloured elements is very clean and refined so that they almost become pieces of furniture or artwork within the spaces."

Moore says: "On one floor you may have a living room, dining room and kitchen. Now, we open up that space, taking away walls and doors and we try to have one element that floats within that space - say a staircase."

A distinguishing feature of the homes is the extensive bank of glass. In the living area, glass doors slide back dissolving the distinction between inside and outdoors. In the larger home this expanse of glass is double height. This area is minimalist in design.

"Double-height spaces are very important to us and almost all of our previous houses have incorporated some form of double-height living space. This is particularly important to allow winter sun to penetrate deep into the interiors and to provide a much greater sense of space within a standard floor area.

"The uninterrupted flow of space between inside and outside through glass walls at either end incorporating balcony and courtyard spaces makes the houses much more liveable. The kitchens located centrally within these spaces allow for interaction between occupants and visual connections to the external spaces," says Moore.

The flooring is either rich burnt cork tiles, wool carpet or linoleum, which contrasts beautifully with the striking colours of the kitchen cabinetry.

This contemporary sleek space with a stainless island is a comfortable blend of practicality and style. Large pot drawers, F&P appliances, including integrated DishDrawers and fridge, a double sink and large cupboards allow for formal entertaining or cosy, intimate interludes.

Moore says: "Good storage space integrated into the design is essential to allow the houses to work well. All our houses are designed from the inside out. First and foremost, they must function well for the occupants and be comfortable and uplifting spaces to live in. We have no preconceived idea about what the house will look like until we are satisfied that they work perfectly on the inside."

The bathrooms, although simplistic, offer a clean, sharp finish. Floor-to-ceiling tiles give way to a large glass cupboard with adjustable shelves, a wall-hung toilet, classic basin, robust tapware and generous shower with integrated tapware. The 2.7m stud and recessed lighting lets you bathe in luxury without feeling closed in.

The bedrooms are 3m by 3.2m and have full-length wardrobes in the same cabinetry as the kitchen creating a seamless transgression between private and public spaces.

The track lighting throughout allows owners the versatility of configuring their lighting requirements, from mood lighting to spot.

In the larger home there is also a separate laundry. This area is catered for in the smaller homes in the bathroom.

Each house has its own identity with subtle differences in colour and size. For example, says Moore: "We've got black ones and we've got white ones. We have some that are four storeys, we have some threes and twos and even a single-level home, and together with the different orientations we have been able to create homes that use similar materials and design principles and yet each has its own look and feel."

Most homes have balconies on every level and a rear courtyard. Beneath the homes is the underground car park. Residents exit through the roof of the car park to the landscaped grounds and homes. "It would be difficult to get cars to the top of the site and by taking them out of the equation we have more people space."

There is a "pedestrian movement system" from Beaumont St up a flight of stairs to the raised level on the triangular part of the site. Stairs from here lead to the piazza and Gudgeon St.

Moore says: "The homes are interspersed throughout the pedestrian areas, each with its own front door to provide individual identities for residents. Also, there's a link to the boardwalk in phase II. We have a vertical circulation system of an elevator and stairs that connect with the levels of the car park and the end of the boardwalk."

Also on the site is a boutique apartment building. "The small apartment building provides further diversity to the housing types offered within the development. In effect, this allows for a range of people to live together within this community. We have included one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom house types as well as one- and two-bedroom apartments," says Moore.

With housing requirements to fit most needs, these homes are for urbanities who want to live close to the city in a timeless home. They are sleek and chic with airy, spacious interiors that are far removed from the city buzz right outside the door.

Vital statistics:

ADDRESS: Beaumont Quarter, Beaumont St, Auckland city.

FEATURES: 71 Ian Moore-designed one-, two- and three-bedroom homes on landmark site; landscaped grounds, underground car parks; Fisher & Paykel appliances; Paini tapware; tiled bathroom.

SIZE: Floor areas from 96sq m to 162sq m.

PRICE: From $189,000, two-to-four bedroom homes from $259,000.

CONTACT: Sue Collis or Bernadette Holten, Colliers International New Zealand. Ph Sue Collis 021 885 545 mob; Bernadette Holten 021 747 660 mob.

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