Day At The Track

Award-winning architect a game-changer

03:59 PM 08 Sep 2015 NZST
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Impressions of Alexandra Park’s proposed apartments Impressions of Alexandra Park’s proposed apartments Richard Naish of RTA Studio
Impressions of Alexandra Park’s proposed apartments
Impressions of Alexandra Park’s proposed apartments
Richard Naish of RTA Studio

Appointing award-winning architects RTA Studio has been described as a significant factor in Alexandra Park’s early success in the selling of apartments for its urban village set to open from 2017, says Alexandra Park CEO Dominique Dowding.

“Bringing in RTA Studio and its hugely respected founder and director Richard Naish has been a real game-changer for the project. People can see and really appreciate the efforts we’re going to not only to design and build quality apartments, but a world-class urban village and entire community,” says Ms Dowding.

Established in 1999 and based in Ponsonby, RTA Studio recently won numerous NZIA National Architecture awards, New Zealand Home of the Year 2015, New Zealand Architecture Medal, World Architecture Festival Winner, and the MIPIM AR Future Project Award.

Richard Naish says RTA Studio’s appointment as lead architect for Alexandra Park’s mixed-use development will see the complete transformation of part of the Auckland Trotting Club’s car-park on Green Lane West.  

“The opportunity to develop a unique urban village on this location was a great draw card for us. The site is truly a one-off. It has a unique north facing aspect on the edge of a live trotting track. But on top of this, it has extraordinary views of the surrounding volcanoes while being on the edge of Cornwall Park. With hundreds of people set to live here it gives us the opportunity to create a vibrant and energised mixed-use village,” says Mr Naish.

He says Auckland apartment buyers are increasingly wanting more usable but private outdoor space and this market desire has become a key component and point of design difference for the Alexandra Park apartments.

“We have developed the concept of the garden room, rather than the usual open balcony. With our design, people have additional space but also cover and operable sun and privacy screens which they can then inhabit and customise with furniture and plants like a real outdoor space.

“In a sense we are trying to create a village of ‘House and Gardens’ in the sky but with a contextual relevance to the residential and horse racing architecture of the immediate suburb of Epsom. So screens are inspired by the fretwork of grandstands and Victorian villas of the surrounding neighbourhood,” says Mr Naish.

RTA Studio is working in conjunction with Sydney-based firm Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke. However RTA Studio is the lead architectural consultant and the design architect on the project.

“Broadly speaking RTA Studio is responsible for the overall design of the project. However DJRD bring a wealth of multi-unit residential experience from the Sydney market which has added a great deal of value to the apartment design,” says Mr Naish.

He says while the Alexandra Park urban village is RTA Studio’s largest scale project to date, the architectural firm has nonetheless had significant experience at multi-million dollar commercial projects and a great deal of experience in delivering a number of high quality mixed-use projects.

“We’d like to think we bring a lot of experience and a high degree of innovation surrounding both the urban design of the public realm as well as the innovation of the retail, commercial and residential spaces. Examples here would be our work on Ironbank in Karangahape Road and the Mackelvie Street retail precinct in Ponsonby,” says Mr Naish.

Affordable luxury is how the Alexandra Park apartments are being promoted, and RTA Studio says their architecture and experience matches that aspiration.

“The work our practice has produced over the last 16 years has demonstrated that good design pays. We’ve always set out to excel at both service delivery and design quality. We are always interested in interrogating every project brief and then seeking to push the boundaries of the design outcome. We are interested in extending and evolving building typologies rather than just merely executing a satisfactory design. And this has been the case for Alexandra Park too.”

Richard Naish says the apartment design, garden room concept and the overall outdoor environment designed by leading Canadian urban design expert Joe Hruda are all critical elements which will all ensure exemplary quality is delivered at good value.

Alexandra Park’s Dominque Dowding says the quality design and thoughtful architecture have positively resonated among apartment buyers from day one.

“People love the garden room concept, the high-studded ceilings, the generous size of the apartments and their storage, the stunning entertainer’s kitchen complete with Bosch appliances, the beautifully appointed bathrooms, the seamless indoor/outdoor flow, and the fact they all optimise the sun and views while retaining privacy,” she says. 

“What we’re able to deliver here is a compelling mix of beautiful residences and landmark architecture, matched by lovely promenades, boutique retail, al fresco dining, great public spaces, and good public transport links.

“Getting RTA Studio on board has been a masterstroke to ensuring excellence which is now paying off in spades,” says Ms Dowding.

The sod has now been officially turned for Canam Construction Limited to start constructing the first building which will contain 118 beautifully-appointed apartments and 2,500 sqm of retail, including a new supermarket concept for Auckland soon to be announced.

The on-site apartment display suite is open from 12pm to 4pm daily or by appointment by calling 0800-275-484 or visiting

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