New Zealand House – Apartments
(RENAMED VENICE HOUSE)
The re-purposing of this 1926 office block through adaptive re-use to accommodate apartments required not only rethinking of the spatial division of the various floors, but also incorporating additional functions which were not part of the office program. In this case it necessitated the need to re-plan the reticulation of services vertically through seven floors to facilitate kitchens and bathrooms.
The brief called for 23 one bedroom apartments, re-design the basement to allow separate storage facilities for each apartment and keep the ground floor as commercial space. Pedestrian interaction was improved at street level by opening up a shop front.
The design resolution answers the contemporary needs while respecting the authentic fabric through establishing a continuum with the original aesthetic language and rhythm of the structural frame of the “Italianate Cape Revival” building. The insertion of new elements is sympathetic, yet distinct from the original, thereby not undermining the historic reading. Minimal intervention with the facades ensures that this feature building continues to contribute character to the streetscape.
Raymond Smith in collaboration with Bettina Woodward and Patrick Schuster of Open City architects