Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Wilkins Residence – Mandalay Terrace 24D in Wellington, New Zealand by Studio MWA
October 5th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Studio MWA – Studio Mikulcic Worldwide Architecture
Definitely, for studio MWA, Wilkins new residence was one of the most challenging and demanding residential projects.
From start project had imperative and goal to celebrate good, functional, innovative, sustainable, brave and imaginative architecture, different than ordinary, which push boundaries of everyday stereotype.
One of first client’s requirements through brief was to not only design new house, but to create HOME and make it unique & special.
Initial brief for family home included: double garage, 4 bedrooms including master suite with walk-in wardrobe and ensuite, studio (as possible bedroom), a further two bathrooms – ensuite, separate visitors toilet, separate space for TV (not just home theatre), open plan formal living dining area, open plan family living kitchen area (kitchen with butler’s pantry), protected – sheltered terraces for outdoor living etc. Spaces should be comfortable and functional with opportunities for different configurations and organizations.
New created urban block is located in prestigious Wellington old suburb of Khandallah. Slopping site comprise over 700 m2 of land at bottom of new created cul-de-sac. Rectangular shape of land has big easement with over 300 m2 at back of site as City Council protection as native reserve. Through middle of site is already laid main City Council rainwater and sewer drains what limited depth for excavation. Standard outer residential rules from Wellington City Council applied for distances for building from boundaries and height control plane restrictions. Access on site, magnificent main view towards Wellington harbor (south orientation), access to reserve bush and general orientation with clients’ brief and budget, give you first impression about the complexity required to work within.
Quality relationship between the client and architect is one of the crucial key for successful Project. Openness, transparency and appreciation of different opinions with same goal to achieve quality Project for family in 21 century result with home (spaces) which will inspire, provide shelter, give opportunity to dream, to play, to love, to invite and meet others. We designed “yesterday” and build “today” for use from “tomorrow”, what takes huge responsibility to allow evolution of family and every day human requirements. Knowing above details, helps to understand “why” we incorporated in our design elements like lift, non standard with for doors, many terraces on different levels in same level with interior spaces, big sliding walls-doors, created very open home with simple and easy inside and out flow, capturing magnificent views, why we choose specifically materials for interior and exterior finishes etc.
Like on all our studio MWA projects, site context is one of the most influential elements in overall design. We strongly believe that each and every design comes from mix of ideas combining unique final result. Lots of research we put in each and every design and we always try to collect as much as possible information to be able to address & find the best solution for clients brief.
Orientation of building, access, internal space connections – horizontal and vertical, result with some very unique design solutions, relatively non standards for residential Projects, including entry hall – tree story high void, glass bridge, over 9 m high water fall feature with small tropical garden and pond, sculptural resolution for internal steps, extensive terraces and decks on variety of levels providing variety of outdoor activities, capturing in same time view, gain shelter and protection against wind are just some of design re-solutions.
From start, project imperatives included to capture view on Wellington harbor, provide as much as possible privacy in high density residential area and in same time make building as much as possible open, use quality building orientation to capture passive solar gain, use natural materials from local resource as much as possible and in overall color concept be inspired by surrounding nature. All this and much more we develop together with clients as integral part of Project Brief.
Only visit project to “see and feel” spaces can give real appreciation of function, form, and spatial quality.
Project started at the end of year 2005 with first clients meetings, site visits and first sketches and was completed in summer 2009. Residence combine total of 315 m2 interior space, with extensive decking and roof terraces on app. 170 m2 with total budget after completion just over NZ $ 1.2 million.
I decided very early on through design process to use materials which people “know” , which people like and they are familiar with, but on slightly more elegant way, giving them importance, relevant not only through function, but through emotional “attachment” too.
Architectural hard landscaping (knowing from start how important “ingredient” it is in overall architectural design approach), address access to garage and house, terraces, decks, retaining walls, raised gardens, roof terraces, “connection” with preserved bush land at back etc. All that, with above mentioned details deliver well settled building into existing urban context, with full appreciation of neighboring properties, without intention to “dominate”, but in same time “use” all possible advantages of existing site.
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