Lakewood Plaza is a fifteen storey apartment building located beside the southern motorway interchange at Manukau city. The client’s vision is to help re-define urban living in the Manukau central area. The tower combines a distinctive sculptural form with one hundred and fifty one affordable apartments and on-site amenities for residents.
The design has been generated from both the efficiency of the internal planning and the desire to create an iconic and enduring architecture. Because of the site’s visibility from both Manukau city and the adjacent southern motorway, the structure must present a distinctive clarity and perceptible sense of scale. As the observer approaches, additional layers of complexity and detail emerge.
The external identity has been generated from a series of ideas which reference the building’s “place” and context. An initial image of natural woven surfaces, referencing pacifica culture and craft, was combined with layers of fabrication and a continuous metallic wall / roof surface.
The latter form was derived from ideas of continuity, extension and the dynamics of journey, referencing both the adjacent motorway and the nearby airport (the upper roof form and cantilevered eave recall the curve of an aircraft wing), as well as Manukau’s position as a developing hub and gateway. The building form is made up of three layered elements – a central symmetrical curved core and two opposing cantilevered curves, offering the building a rotational symmetry in plan. This means that the view from the motorway perspective is similar to that from Manukau city CBD.
Lakewood plaza has been designed to offer a vibrant mix of accommodation options to the urban centre – the modular approach allows flexibility within the final apartment mix. The plaza level provides an integrated social environment for residents, while providing connection to the street at the front and rear of the site, affording privacy, security and connection via multiple entrances.
The design incorporates a fourteen storey apartment tower on a three level podium, two “basement” car parking levels and a street level entry plaza. The site slopes from front to rear (north / south) with the primary street frontage on redoubt rd and a through site link to a secondary access from Lakewood Court with its retail and hospitality outlets. The car park levels are set below the redoubt rd frontage, but are visible to Lakewood court.
All vehicular access to the site is from Lakewood Court, providing the opportunity for secure access control and reducing the potential for congestion off redoubt rd.
An important urban design response is the relationship between the tower and the ground level entry podium; and between this podium and the Redoubt Rd frontage. The plaza is set at the same level as the Redoubt Rd footpath, allowing visibility and direct pedestrian access. The Plaza is set back to retain the existing avenue of palm trees at the street edge. The Plaza forecourt is north facing, with deep eaves and an enveloping roof form, affording shelter and encouraging engagement and interaction between the ground level facilities and the street.
The ground floor amenities are designed for the use of the residents, including a full gym and lap pool. The lap pool has been positioned over the car park vehicle access to make the most efficient use of space and to afford outlook to the south. The ground floor has access to a secondary terrace, which connects to the rear of the site via an external stair case.
The fundamental component of the floor plan is a two bedroom apartment module with associated deck. This can function as a stand alone apartment or can be modified to create a twin key arrangement, with a one bedroom apartment linked (via a common entry lobby) to a studio. This arrangement allows occupation of the one bedroom apartment while renting out the studio, or occupation of the twin key as a two bedroom unit.
The plan offers compact urban living, targeting young professionals and tertiary students. The deck is designed as a protected, occasional outdoor space – a buffer zone to the disruption and noise of the surrounding environment and as a shading and sheltering device. The communal plaza, gym and restaurant encourage a collegial, village atmosphere.
The exterior palette for the building is intentionally restrained, ensuring efficiency of construction and robustness and quality of finish. The external wall/roof elements are clad with fire-rated laminated aluminium panels. The main element of the eastern and western façades is curtain wall double glazing, with “hole-in-the-wall” recessed balconies, providing textural depth to the clean lines of the glazing. Additional visual layering has been added to the façade by the use of horizontal banding of differently tinted glass.
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