Paul Brown Architects have designed plenty of upmarket central Auckland apartment projects but designing their first South Auckland one for a big Papakura site gave them new levels of freedom.
The practice's high-profile apartment designs include those for built projects The Dylan and 217 North in Grey Lynn, The Saint in St Benedict's St Newton and the currently under way St James Suites (connected to Queen St's St James Theatre).
Principal Paul Brown says: "This Papakura site is 2185 square metres, which means we've got plenty of space and we're not having to shoehorn anything in.
"We often design apartments for smaller sites in the central city which are often hard up against boundaries. Here, we've actually been able to design a building in three dimensions on all four sides."
Paul says: "It's going to be a building with real character and identity. It's a reasonably complex and sophisticated design that took a long time to work through."
To put that site size into perspective, there are towering CBD apartment developments with a similar number of dwellings to South 83 sitting on a footprint around one-sixth of its site size.
Paul says: "The other interesting thing is that in terms of urban design we normally have to do a lot of thinking about the context and the existing built fabric of the area. Well, this is the first multi-storey here so it's really setting the tone for the built fabric of the area.
"So you're not constrained by working in with an existing heritage fabric in a significant way and you get to do something with a little bit more freedom, which is enjoyable."
Entry-level one-bedroom apartments with balcony and a car park are available from $465,000 and there are a variety of two-bedroom layouts. It's a 55-minute trip from Papakura Train Station -- five minutes' walk away -- to Auckland CBD and off-peak drive times are five minutes to the Southern Motorway and 20 minutes to Auckland International Airport.
Developers Paula and Kurt Schultz of Canopius Premium Properties have experience including the recent refurbishment, seismic upgrade and partial conversion to loft apartments, of Papakura's 100-year-old Stanley Building.
The Papakura aficionados approached Paul seeking designs for high-quality, industrial-style apartments to be built from scratch and to offer the sort of spaces people would enjoy living in.
This six-level, 54-dwelling complex, which is already more than 40 per cent sold, is the response.
The exterior will be concrete with brick and metal accents and black aluminium joinery emulating the heritage look of old-style steel joinery. The industrial aesthetic of concrete and brick continues into the interiors of apartments, some of which are two-storey loft-style apartments incorporating mezzanine floors.
South 83 runs roughly along a north-south axis with two towers -- the Hunua apartments and Harbour View apartments -- flanking a sizeable landscaped central courtyard. Front apartments, facing Great South Rd, have views to the east out across Papakura to the Hunua Ranges, while upper level west-facing ones look out to the upper reaches of the Manukau Harbour.
The secure building will be located by supermarkets, cafes and restaurants, gyms, fast food outlets and shopping. Purchasers to date range from first-home buyers to mature globe-trotters wanting lock-up-and-leave convenience.
Car parking is a mixture of open-air and covered with some stacker parks. Apartment prices include one car park, which can be secured as being a covered park for an extra $5000. Second car parks cost from $25,000 each. The project is scheduled to start in February 2017 for completion 15 months later in the second quarter of 2018.