Ocean beach hero

Oceanbeach Townhouses


Jason MacDonald / JMAC Architecture

2. Residential design award for multi-unit residential buildings (up to 3 levels)

Photographed by: 
Amanda Aitken Photography

“Oceanbeach Townhouses are an exploration in a genre of building that is a direct response to redefining the expectations of Medium Density Housing ”

Client Brief:

In 2019 we were commissioned to design dwellings for a beach side site at Mt Maunganui NZ. The brief in simple terms was for two refined three level townhouses of a scale and mass to elevate interior position while maintaining a considered approach to the impact on the neighboring properties and street scene. The brief was to include a focus on the use of timber to add value to the project in terms of predominate construction material use and contributing architectural aesthetics.

How the use of timber added value to the project in terms of construction benefits, aesthetic benefits, cost benefits:

The design ethos for the beach townhouse project focuses on sustainability, functionality, and aesthetic appeal. 
The structure mainly uses timber framing, with minimal structural steel. Timber facade screens were used ingeniously to provide aesthetic amenity to soften and breakup the scale of the three-story bulk forms.

Timber framing is New Zealand’s traditional method of residential construction. Utilising lightweight construction over the three-level structure was a coordination between architectural designer and structural engineer. A conscious design effort was applied to minimize structural steel use by understanding timbers structural properties with its ability to bear loads and provide stability ensures a robust structure. The floor plan carefully aligned vertical loads.

Sourced locally from sustainably forestry, Radiata pine timber framing offers several advantages as a traditional light weight construction material that contributes to the effectiveness of the dwelling’s construction cost benefits and low thermal mass passive design compared to higher density options.

The inclusion of intricate Western Red Cedar lightweight slat screens embraces as a leitmotif, dissolving the distinction between the architectural and natural worlds. Rather than simply serving as cladding or framing material, the rhythmic spacing of the wooden slats bring visual intrigue and dynamic movement to the building. This results in playful changes in the shadows cast by both natural daylight and nighttime illumination, adding depth and interest to the facade. The timber's versatility and the use of cedar slat screens elevated the townhouse into an artistic expression. Its organic texture, rich grain patterns, and warm coastal tones create a visually appealing and inviting atmosphere, enhancing the overall design of the building. Delivering an immersive experience for both residents and passersby.

In conclusion, timber was selected for its ability to express form and functionality effectively in the construction of multi-level development. Its aesthetic appeal and structural advantages contributed to the creation of a comfortable and adaptable living environment suitable for multiple tenancies. Timber's versatility played a key role in accommodating customization and ensuring the overall success of the design.