Setting the bar high for residential housing to attract the elderly

Creating a pleasant outdoor living environment for the residents at the Mary Potter Apartments to complement the award winning architecture.

Warren & Mahoney’s design of the 12-unit development received a silver award in the multi-unit housing category of the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ Canterbury awards 2016. Boffa Miskell worked with the architects to ensure the indoor and outdoor spaces were well-integrated and complementary in their design.

The new residential apartments are adjacent to the Mary Potter residential courts in the central city. The development is owned and operated by the Little Company of Mary (LCM), whose ministry in Christchurch provides support to the elderly. The Sisters assist by providing affordable housing for independent low income senior citizens as well as a community centre for elderly living in the local community.

The buildings in the new development were arranged around a central courtyard, designed so the residents have an attractive outlook from their homes as well as a place to share with family and friends or simply sit and enjoy. Good connections to the other facilities and existing residential units on the site were also included.

An intimate courtyard was created with strong lines referencing the simple cross, a symbol central to the beliefs and ministry of LCM, and reflected in their emblem. This communal space was designed using an eclectic mix of plants to provide colour and interest. Native species and clipped hedging provide a framework that complements the modern architecture, interspersed with selected plants of a more traditional character that residents will identify with, such as floribunda roses, rhododendrons and agapanthus. Those living in the apartments have already embraced the communal vegetable gardens, which provide both a source of food and a place for social interaction.

The awards jury acknowledged the “intimate shared courtyard” and commented that the apartment development had been “designed with occupants’ needs at heart”, concluding that “this project sets a high bar for retirement living.”

Our project team put in a concerted effort, alongside Warren & Mahoney, to complete the design work, detailed drawings and site supervision to enable project’s completion in 2015.

For further information please contact Nik Kneale or Katie Chilton

30 June 2016