Industry praise for social housing redevelopment
June 1, 2017
Wellington City Council has won two awards for its refurbishment of a Kilbirnie social housing complex.
Kotuku apartments on Kemp Road have been extensively upgraded inside and out as part of council’s $400 million partnership with central government.
The New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) presented council with a housing award for multi-units. Judges praised the Kotuku apartments redevelopment for its “community oriented” design.
The council also received a Resene colour award, which recognises outstanding use of colour in design.
Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle said the 20-year partnership with central government, which was signed in 2007, allowed the council to re-examine social housing built in the 1950s and 1960s and bring them up to today’s standards.
The units were now properly insulated helping to keep costs low for residents.
Included in the redesign were shared areas for residents to come together, including a community room, children’s play area and shared garden for growing herbs and vegetables.
“If you look inside the units, they’ve got warm curtains, they’ve got carpet, there’s double glazed windows,” Eagle said. “I’ve often joked and said,’ boy some of these units are better than my house’, in fact they are.
Eagle said to have the refurbishment recognised by NZIA and Resene was great, but being able to take good care of residents was key.
“It’s our most vulnerable and needy people living in high quality housing. That’s important for the city.
“Some of these people who live in these homes, they need help. Some people feel really isolated,” Eagle said.
“Before, it was just a concrete building. Now there’s some sense that it’s a real community.”
One resident, who did wish to be named, said he was happy in his new home. He had moved from Newtown and said that Kotuku was warm and dry, but most importantly for him, earthquake safe.
“I really like it here.”