Dynamic developments

Dynamic developments add

The simple adage 'change is constant' frequently bandied about often belies the determination it takes to keep pace with, adapt to, and indeed capitalise on change, particularly when it comes to our built environment.

From subtle nuances to dynamic changes, the metamorphosis within the housing market over time has been vast and vibrant, and in recent times, very responsive to a well overdue shift away from the 'more is more' mentality.

In turn this has heralded in a new era of residential development in New Zealand, one that in itself is constantly evolving - medium density housing. Beyond the changes that occur organically, Simon Novak of Novak + Middleton, is a major driver behind the strategic changes to medium density housing - specifically, those that enable these built environments to be fluid rather than static.

Ahead of his presentation at this year's Medium Density Housing Summit, Novak says of one of the unique innovations he will be talking to: "Our work on Arlington Apartments is for the Wellington City Council. It's 106 social housing units, over three storeys, in ten buildings, across a significant public open space on one site. What's interesting about this is the modularisation and adaptability inherent in the design, and that it is assembled substantially from prefabricated components constructed offsite."

With significant improvements to build time and with less labour required, thus improving health and safety conditions, Novak says this lean manufacturing approach further contributes to the desirable traits native to this architectural typology - high quality results delivered in less time, with less wastage, for less money. "Efficient repetition and quality outcomes are achieved because so much of it is manufactured in factory conditions."

But the true innovation lies in what the Arlington housing is capable of. "They are all reconfigurable apartments, which is something I believe that has not been done previously with this type of housing in New Zealand. You can take a one bedroom unit and turn it into 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 bedroom units - without any structural changes. It's much like opening doors between rooms in hotels.

"The reason this is being done is so that as the requirements of the tenants change in future, the mix of units can change. All of the services are there and we know what the costs are to make the changes."

Join Simon Novak at this year's summit as he shares his experiences with this project and others that are revolutionising the way we live. For more information visit: http://mdhs.co.nz/