The site at 44 Khyber Pass Road is located at the western end of Khyber Pass Road near the intersection with Symonds Street. The site is rectangular in shape and was occupied until recently by a concrete framed office tower building at the north and a low rise mall facing Khyber Pass Road. The tower and mall date from the mid-1970s, and were designed by the architectural firm CDC, a consortium of the city’s then larger practices.
We were commissioned by developers Lamont & Co. to redevelop the tower and change its use to residential apartments to take advantage of the spectacular 360 degree views across the isthmus. The project involved the stripping out of the existing tower back to its structural frame, its strengthening, reservicing and fitting out as an apartment tower. A low rise mall at the south side of the tower has been demolished and a new ‘L’ shaped 4 and 6 storey mixed use building is currently being constructed to form a courtyard with the existing refurbished tower.
The residential apartments in the tower are accessed from Hohipere Street through a new porte cochere that will form part of a landscaped through site link to Khyber Pass when the second stage is complete. The tower accommodates a range of apartment sizes and configurations. These include high level luxury apartments, mid height one, two and three bedroom apartments and a range of studio spaces; open volumes with high ceilings and ply lined service ‘boxes’ containing kitchen, laundry and bathroom facilities.
All the apartments feature lofty open plan living areas defined by the building’s exposed original concrete beams, columns and ceilings. This robust industrial aesthetic is softened by oak flooring, bespoke timber cabinetry and high-quality finishes.
The external treatment of the tower generates a visual play between the robust concrete frame and the lightness of secondary elements. This has been achieved by removing heavy horizontal sunshades revealing the tower’s underlying column and beam structural frame and the thin exposed edge of the cantilevered floor plates. Contemporary glazing within the existing concrete framework and new re-entrant terraces provide a complex and sculptured arrangement of elements on the façade. The existing rooftop plant room has been rebuilt to accommodate a two storey penthouse apartment with dramatic views of the central city, Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf beyond.
The project has met with great success, apartments completely selling out off plans, the building acclaimed as having created ‘a silk purse from a sow’s ear’ and having made a significant contribution to the revitalisation of a part of the city much abused by the demolition of historic buildings and road realignment facilitating city fringe traffic flows.