Design Controls that Flex

A great deal of attention has been paid to the design of Hobsonville Point across three scales: the shape of the entire development; at the level of neighbourhoods and streets; and at the fine scale of individual lots and homes. A Comprehensive Development Plan is created for each precinct to give it its own shape and character.

Development controls for the precinct are applied at the level of lots and homes through a design review process. Builder Partners submit detailed drawings for each home in the superlots they have purchased to a Design Review Panel (DRP). This approach provides the necessary economies of scale while at the same time ensuring architectural variety. The variety that emerges from differing design interpretations from a number of architects results in a more organic, authentic outcome overall. Rather than top down rulings on aesthetics such as architectural style, colour or material choice, the DRP guidelines apply principles such as lightness rather than massiveness in materials and form, and a direct and relaxed relationship between homes and open spaces. These guidelines allow for variety to further evolve over time as people make adjustments to their homes to meet their needs, much as it has in the heritage suburbs.

Stormwater is treated on site in swales that double as wetland reserves. This neighbourhood is designed by Isthmus Group.

Focus on Sustainability

Sustainability is a concept that is easy to promise but hard to deliver on. HLC’s vision to provide a strong and enduring community that Aucklanders from all walks of life can afford to buy into – and can afford to live in – requires a determined commitment to sustainability in the broader sense. Of equal importance to environmental sustainability is economic and social sustainability. The company sets sustainability goals in these three areas and enrols its partners to commit to a range of measures that will help achieve those goals. The goals are too numerous to list here, but a small sample includes:

• ultra-fast broadband to every home
• planting to form a continuous coastal green strip no less than 10% of site
• no home more than 800m from a bus stop
• 20% of all homes delivered beneath an ‘affordable’ price cap to first home buyers
• rainwater tanks to all dwellings
• 2,000 jobs created within the community
• all homes to achieve a Homestar rating of 5 stars or higher
• 95% of residents feel Hobsonville Point is a safe place to walk/cycle
• all stormwater (other than roofwater) treated on
• 75% of construction waste recycled

Volunteers plant seedlings on the coast from seeds propagated on site, preserving the local biodiversity.

At the level of individual homes, the Design Review Panel ensures that mandatory sustainability measures which exceed the Building Code will be met by the builders. These are blanket controls that ensure every home at Hobsonville Point, regardless of price, is warm, dry and energy efficient. This is not only reassuring for the market at buying stage but helps create a stable, sustainable community over time as energy and water costs inevitably rise. The controls imposed are the result of an in-depth study into the measures that would result in the highest environmental, comfort and cost benefits in the Auckland context.

All new homes at Hobsonville Point:

• are oriented to maximise solar gain from the sun. Living areas face north to collect heat in winter and eaves and other shading structures help avoid overheating in summer.
• are insulated to a level above the building code and have double glazing.
• have energy efficient lights installed throughout.
• have either a heat pump or solar hot water, saving more than half the energy used to heat water.
• include a rainwater tank to supply the water used in toilets, laundry and garden.
• have water efficient showers, toilets and taps.
• include a fold-away washing line so reliance on the dryer is reduced.
• have natural ventilation ‘designed in’ so that air conditioning is not required.

A study completed by an independent research firm found homes in the Buckley Precinct homes use 28% less power and 30% less water than the Auckland average. These figures represent considerable savings for the homeowner and provide further proof of the quality of Hobsonville Point’s built environment.

A 3-bedroom 89m2 home. Note the rainwater tank, Hungry Bin worm farm and vegetable garden in the background.

Next week we look at how AVJenning innovates to create more affordable homes for Kiwi’s,  and supports one of the Crown’s key objectives for Hobsonville Point.

Follow AVJennings on LinkedIn and find out more about this evolution of this exemplar development.