51 houses form the second phase of a 250 unit residential development on the edge of the Central Business District in Auckland. This development is a benchmark project as it seeks to introduce medium density housing to attract people back to the city. The challenge was to create qualities normally associated with suburban living in such a development and on a very restricted topographical location.

Once used as the old harbour front, the site is one of historic importance. The slope negotiates the change in topography as it descends to the street at the front of the site. A new public space; a board walk that moves from the park climbing up the cliff top, making the cliff landscape accessible as part of the street network below. Four houses were conceived (Cliffhanger, Leapfrog, ZigZag and Saddlebag) that are shaped by the different and often contradictory forces present on the site.

These are the forces of motorway noise, footprint restrictions, parking, active street frontage, stunning views across the bay, sun, privacy and outdoor space. Familiar materials such as galvanized metal, wood and corrugated steel are used in an unfamiliar way. The composition of units is a play between the traditional notions of villa and terrace typologies.

Location: Auckland, NZ
Year: 2001
Status: Completed 2005
Site: 0.4 ha
Program: Inner city housing: 19 row houses, 32 ‘cliff’ houses
Client: Melview Developments Ltd., Auckland
Associates: Studio of Pacific Architecture, Steven Tupu
Engineer: Holmes Consulting Group
Building costs: Euro 5,200,000