Papakāinga housing complex plans
Thoughtful landscaping, innovative infrastructure ideas, and an eye for rural character led to a harmonious housing complex design linked to the land.
We jumped at the opportunity to help a private client develop a Papakāinga housing complex on Māori land near a Wairarapa rural marae complex. We teamed up with them to figure out how many residential houses they would need to accommodate the whanau, while also investigating connectivity options, site access, communal facilities, protecting rural amenity and practical things like wastewater and power infrastructure. We worked with the whanau on 3 different concept plans so they could determine the best layout for their vision, and use it to inform the next steps in the development.
We coordinated a team of infrastructure specialists
Rural sites don’t generally have the water, sewer and power infrastructure found in urban zones, and those logistical and safety issues required specialist help. We coordinated input from engineers to come up with the best environmental results for services, including options for installing underground cables and efficient wastewater solutions for the 3 different layouts.
Landscape connections were critical
The papakāinga site was a blank canvas in the rural zone, so we worked with the whanau to come up with 3 options to choose from. Papakāinga housing developments can potentially be a bit dense for rural areas and the whanau wanted to make sure the houses didn’t detract from the overall rural aspect. They also wanted each dwelling to feel like a natural part of the rural environment. In addition, the concepts had to incorporate the possibility that a new marae might be built in the future.
For the 3 different concept plans, we worked out the optimal yield for houses on the site, including different housing typologies that might suit large families, smaller families and older people. Houses were oriented on the plans so they all had good views, didn’t look exactly the same as each other, and were still part of a good cohesive design.
Thoughtful landscaping that reflected existing geomorphology was key in addressing the rural amenity issues. Residential-scale planting plans created private living spaces for each dwelling that were visually linked to the communal living areas. The internal landscaping designs also ensured the development looked like a natural part of the rural area to anyone looking at it from the outside.