Studio MWA
PROJECT NAME: Pinehill Crescent Re- Development

CLIENT: Upper Hutt City Council – Invited competition

TYPE: Renovation with addition of existing Residential area in Upper Hutt.

SIZE: Site area about 50,000 m2.

LOCATION: Pinehill Crescent – Upper Hutt, New Zealand

AUTHOR: Davor Mikulcic

STATUS: Competition Concept design – second place

This was an interesting experience. From the start of the competition, with existing site, infrastructure, existing state housing stock in not particularly good condition, it was necessary to make a crucial decision – to progress with the project as a huge Re-development with the goal to maintain the existing character, scale, density and with a sustainable approach through serious Renovation – remain and improve the existing 35 houses and as infill add further new buildings to blend with surroundings (existing state housing was with buildings over 30-40 years old, with cottage appearance and simple Timber weatherboard cladding finish) ,or another, more simple but more expensive solution was to demolish everything and start from scratch creating a new residential block with new housing (standard spec homes). We decided to not go this way (it was the approach by the winning proposal) and have more human and sustainable approach which would for less money achieve nearly the same outcome.

As a team of Civil Engineers, Land surveyors, Town planners and architects, we found through a quick feasibility study that demolishing all 35 existing houses, most existing infrastructure, , creating new streets and most with all new infrastructure and dramatically change the density with much more spec houses (in the existing park environment) would be totally wrong, ethically, morally, financially, environmentally, historically etc.

So we have proposed a more sustainable and human approach as indicated earlier; to renovate the existing 35 houses with some serious additions (to prepare for quality living in future), and at the same time we proposed an additional 28 new houses predominantly as infill, maximizing the existing infrastructure. With this approach we developed a neighborhood with groups of 8-12 houses as part of individual cul-de-sac's and it gave us an opportunity to bring through the development public transport, create small park with a kindergarten and give each of the proposed houses descent outdoor living and garden areas.

Simple computer models and scale models dramatically helped to elaborate our approach to the jury, but simple voting with one vote more directed toward a future Development eliminated our proposal. The completed opposing development is just another spec home block without any identity and character, without real community feeling and possibility for real, human, social interaction. Obvious goal as many times before was only to maximize profit without return for real quality living.