While many New Zealanders hold the quarter-acre dream close to their hearts, the arrangement of separated homes and sections can result in feelings of isolation and a lack of neighbourly support.
Bringing back the concept of the village, this group of Aucklanders created Cohaus in Grey Lynn, a community of connected homes and shared spaces, which uses Abodo products for cladding and construction.
The concept of Cohaus is not a new one, but for modern city-dwellers, it may feel like a breath of fresh air. Residents of the twenty units share facilities and therefore also expenses - electricity, internet, laundry facilities and even cars - and, for those with families, the children run free together in the courtyard and gardens.
The idea was conceived of in 2016 by architects Thom Gill and Helle Westergaard of Westergaard Gill Architecture, who joined forces with their friends David Welch and Georgianne Griffiths, looking to Scandinavian models in their research.
Their aim was to create an affordable housing model where residents of all ages and stages could live in close quarters, sharing gardens and community spaces as well as walls, close to the amenities of the city.
The result is a successful neighbourhood of homes situated around a central courtyard, garden and community room. A variety of housing types provides a total of 20 units, each with between one and four bedrooms.
These are contained within a renovated villa, a two-storey terrace building known as the Courtyard block, and a three-storey apartment building dubbed the Surrey block, all positioned around the three boundaries of the 2,406m2 Grey Lynn site.
In the construction of the terraced and apartment buildings, the designers were careful to choose products and materials that encapsulated the sustainability ethos of the project.
The decking product is also used for the external staircase for the Surrey block and for the villa decking, with Vulcan timber screening around the carpark and utility areas.
Cohaus became fully occupied at the beginning of 2022 and, according to residents who have penned various articles and letters about their experiences, it is a huge success, providing a rare taste of village life near the centre of our biggest city.
“We selected Abodo products because they are New Zealand-grown and sustainable,” says Thom Gill. “By transforming the humble radiata pine into a high quality building material, they are directly addressing environmental responsibility in construction. Abodo also has a depth of technical knowledge and back-up that is unrivalled in timber cladding companies in New Zealand.”