New to Grey Lynn - The Feynman

Modal honoured at Here Awards

To be honest we’ve always secretly thought Modal, our sleekly curved, dark brick building in Mt Albert, is a bit of a winner. So, we were chuffed when Modal claimed an Honourable Mention in the prestigious Here Awards – the only apartment building so honoured. 

And we were even more thrilled when Sir Simon Farrell-Green, editor of Here, did a write-up on the 32-unit build-to-rent project for the Sept 2021 awards issue, extolling Modal's many virtues. 

“Until recently, Mt Albert was less known for apartment buildings, and better known for leafy suburban compounds... with some dodgy 90s infill and 60s brick sausage blocks for good measure,” Farrell-Green wrote.  

“Modal is a sign of better things to come, as the city prioritises dense living along transport routes on main roads. 

“Given that set-up, the building could have been brutal - starkly modern, or less inviting than it is. Instead, that rounded corner is sensitive, contextual even, finding a connection with bungalows and art-deco houses behind it, with a filigree of notes in expressed brick climbing up each side.” 

To which we can say with quiet humility... Hear, Hear, er, Here. A great deal of thinking went into Modal – its aesthetic contribution to its surrounds, and what might be needed by the good folk of Mt Albert as the neighbourhood starts to densify. Following its completion in 2020, amid the uncertainties of Covid, this favourable review a year on shows we’re very much on the right track. 

A modal shift for the city

Designed by Ockham architect Martin King, the exterior brickwork of Modal is subtly patterned with references to the musical scale, specifically, the ‘modes’ between each note in a 12-note octave. Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian modes are represented on the east elevation, Aeolian and Locrian on the north elevation.  

"Geddit? The building represents a modal shift for the city,” wrote Farrell-Green. (We do love a Dad or Mum joke around Ockham but even for us this was subtle, so we are quite pleased he – and the awards judiciary – got it!) 

“Musical references aside, the building has some other moves,” Farrell-Green continued: “There are no carparks, but there is a park for a shared electric car scheme and two bike 'sheds' at ground floor – one of which was converted from storage when it transpired that many residents are enthusiastic peddlers. There is also a bus every few minutes from the front door.” 

Lauding the space on Modal’s ground floor that’s reserved for art and music, and a shared space on the top floor for social gatherings, Farrell-Green ended his ode by praising the development's build-to-rent ethos. 

“The clincher? It's not for sale. Ockham has explicitly developed this building as a permanent rental with apartments available for long-term lease, giving their occupants peace of  mind in a rental market dominated by uncertainty. That may be the biggest shift of all.” 

What can we say? We feel seen. Thank you once more to the team at Here for bestowing Modal with this Honourable Mention. We highly recommend picking up a back copy of Issue 09 or better yet, subscribing to Here.

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