ARO Living

ARO Living, a multi-residential project in central Wellington consisting of 109 dwellings, made up of 61 terraced townhouses and 48 apartments. The design of ARO Living embraces the idea of laneway living, with the 3-4 storey houses creating a human-friendly scale between the buildings and the pedestrian-only streets. Commercial tenancies have been provided at some strategic locations to house the likes of cafés and boutique retail. These are positioned at pedestrian nodes where people are likely to pause, such as street corners and laneway entrances, and we anticipate that this will help to foster a sense of community and vibrancy throughout the development and the wider Te Aro context. There are five townhouse typologies, ranging from two- and three-bedroom houses to dual-key units with ground floor studio apartments, as well as 'live/work' typologies with ground floor commercial tenancies. All ground floor levels of the townhouses are elevated above the footpath to improve comfort and to provide a balance between privacy and connectivity. Some houses have private rooftop terrace gardens where residents can sit outside to overlook the laneways. A key design driver in this project is to foster a sense of community by creating a vibrant neighbourhood. Four commercial tenancies are situated on the ground floor of two of the townhouses, as well as below the future apartments. This mix of activities is important for the prevention of crime, as more eyes and ears provide natural supervision. All laneways are publicly accessible rather than gated. This will benefit residents of ARO, as well as neighbours and passers-by. These laneways are open-ended and there are no cul-de-sacs. Planting, trees, lighting and visual connectivity will ensure these spaces are comfortable, safe and desirable spaces to occupy. The laneways will be constantly activated as they give access to front doors and are overlooked by the occupants' living spaces. All townhouse entrances are configured with porches and vertical elevation so they can function as a stoop by occupants. This will encourage informal communication and incidental engagement with neighbours and passers-by. The material palette has always been a fundamental consideration in this project, as we have sought to use robust materials and quality finishes throughout. Exterior materials include precast concrete, profiled metal cladding, aluminium joinery and galvanised steel external structures. Interior finishes include exposed precast concrete, cross-laminated timber, engineered oak flooring, eco rubber flooring, ceramic tiles and 100% wool carpet. At ARO Living the New Zealand Green Building 7 Home-star design rating has been the benchmark for each townhouse and apartment unit. The structures have naturally high-levels of thermal insulation and mass, due to their concrete construction. High-performance double glazing will be used throughout. Natural light, passive ventilation and energy efficient panel heaters will ensure healthy homes year-round. Plumbing systems are low-flow and tapware will be energy efficient. Energy efficient Energy Star appliances are used throughout, as are Environmental Choice paints and floor coverings. Design team: Stuart Gardyne, Damon Peachey, Belinda Tuohy, Kirsty Chamberlain, Michael Bennett Client: The Wellington Company Project team: Egmont Dixon, Aoraki Construction, NZCEL, Aurecon