High-Rise Happiness - Welcome to The Greenhouse
It’s some view. Mark Todd, founder of Ockham Residential, has given me the Waitakeres, the sun sliding slowly behind him. Sitting opposite, he looks east – towards the Bridge, the Sky Tower, the Christmas lights-like twinkle of Ponsonby Road. If you’re going to talk Auckland then this residents’ rooftop garden atop The Isaac on Surrey Crescent offers an epic stage.
“I hope I don’t sound overly Ozymandias,” Todd says, “but I love looking out from here at what we’ve built for Auckland.”
The Turing, the brilliant-white 27-unit development on Great North Road now catching the last slivers of light. There’s Daisy, tucked up against Mt Eden, the 10-Homestar building which incurred Mike Hosking’s ire (Todd’s withering Spinoff riposte went minorly viral and the apartments sold out soon after). And this one, The Isaac, which typifies the company’s philosophy – to construct elegant and enduring buildings that people like.
Until recently Todd lived here and two senior Ockham execs still do. That’s an Ockham theme: its leaders like to live in the homes they build. “We’re proud of our buildings, but even prouder of the communities which form around them. Communities we’re committed to and which are deepening all the time.”
Which brings us to The Greenhouse, Ockham’s newest development on the corner of Williamson Ave and Pollen St (and Todd’s intended future home). A bold 10-storey development that’ll both stand out and fit in, the Greenhouse will be clad in distinctive green-glazed bricks which took Todd years to find.
“It’s been a slightly obsessive quest,” he admits. “But this is the building we’ve been working towards for a decade.” Consider it Ockham’s take on the Aotearoa design aesthetic. “Our palette is inspired by the sparkling blues of our sister harbours and deep greens of the Waitakeres,” Todd says. The use of durable, elemental materials like glazed bricks, brass, timber and slate is, of course, an Ockham hallmark, but The Greenhouse adds a lick of luxury to the patina. “Raw sophistication,” is what Todd likes to call it.
Part of the Ockham ethos is that its buildings last – and age gracefully. “The Greenhouse won’t feel dated within a few years of opening,” Todd contends. “You know, that contemporary style that’s already obsolete.“The re-zoned site demanded a landmark building. And we believe The Greenhouse will be a homage to Auckland’s transformation, a striking recognition of our South Pacific identity.
“For those who love Tāmaki Makaurau as much as we do, that’s pretty exciting.”
First published in Ponsonby News - November 2019. See https://thegreenhouse.apartments for more.