Designing Beyond the Floor Plan

Naomi Steel

Naomi Street View Render
View from Eastview Road

Auckland's new Unitary Plan aims to solve the City's housing crisis through building intensification within the Auckland area to provide affordable and dense housing. This thesis examines three-dimensional planning exemplars - Plan Libre and Raumplan - with a view to identify concepts that will be useful for compact and dense housing. This thesis explores design approaches that balance budget with the need for liveable social spaces that aim to actively connect the family, neighbour, and community. 

Naomi Site Plan
Site plan
Naomi Site Map Wide Context
Context site map

Auckland’s housing demographic consists of a wide range of family compositions and ethnicities. This has created a demand for flexible housing that satisfies a variation of configurations and sizes. Typological features of Raumplan and Plan Libre approaches have been considered for their ability to cater to the cultural, economic and geological requirements of Auckland. This thesis focuses on a contemporary prototype of high density family homes clustering on a shared title. 

Originally, only 3 homes sat on this site. This thesis has intensified the site with 10 homes with a strong community focus around a shared but intimate communal area. The 10 homes are a mixture of apartment and terrace style houses. The property heavily slopes from the eastern to western corner.

Naomi Render West Corner
View from reserve
Naomi House Gto J Sectional Axo
House G, H, I, J sectional axonometric
Image 4 Section AA
Section AA

Raumplan has lent itself to Auckland’s topography well, as most sites are very steep. One of the main ideas behind Raumplan is to follow the landscape and terrain of the site. This means that split and half levels became a strong and prominent feature within the design. Employing split levels removes the extra cost and need for digging out properties and re-sculpting the land. It also lowers the cost of retaining walls. Engaging with Raumplan meant that the buildings could all open out onto the communal area at similar levels, creating a connected community space.  

Naomi Site Section Section Cc
Section CC

Plan Libre has been explored throughout the site. It is used to activate fruitful communal areas and provide intimate spaces using a private roof terrace. Le Corbusiers’ desire to create vast airy spaces where one can work, live and play was a strong driver when designing the site. Intensifying houses on the property meant that each home's private ‘yard’ space would diminish. Therefore, there was a strong emphasis on stimulating the site at a communal level and activating the roof terrace at a private one. 

Naomi Playground Render
View of communal area
Naomi House Cf Sectional Axo
House C, D, E, F sectional axonometric
Naomi House Ab Sectional Axo
House A, B sectional axonometric