Marking our return to Great North Road – and to the greatest of neighbourhoods – The Feynman stands at the nexus of Grey Lynn, Ponsonby, K’ Road and Kingsland. As a worldwide audience in the millions watched on, Ockham's 21st development was launched online with panache and undeniable parental pride.
2 Mar 2022
The Feynman is born: Ockham's 21st development launches via livestream
We had been here before. Back in September 2020, during the second lockdown, we hosted a virtual launch for Aroha in Avondale. This time round, with Omicron numbers surging, it was back to the future – back to the studio – with the team tasked with launching The Feynman via livestream.
“I want to acknowledge that it’s unusual times,” said Ockham’s captain, Mark Todd. “It’s really hard to dislodge that feeling of our lives being on hold, but hopefully there’ll be some enjoyment in seeing this building, looking through something new.”
The Ockham helmsman was joined by genius architectural designer Hannah Chiaroni-Clarke, and company COO Fiona Towers. Unfortunately, along with 120,000 others in New Zealand that first day of March, our sales star Joss Lewis was down for the count with Omicron.
Though Her Jossness was much missed, an unexpected delight: Comms Commissar Peter Malcouronne jumped in seamlessly as MC. “I’ve grabbed the opportunity, ironed a shirt, ditched the jandals, even had a haircut and shave in honour of this auspicious occasion,” he said, vainly trying to explain his unrecognisable appearance.
Master Malcouronne delivered the many millions of viewers tuning in from around the globe the full low-down on The Feynman: “There's 155 gorgeous apartments in all manner of configurations including studios, one bedrooms and one plus flexis, smaller two bedrooms – and then some larger two and three bedroom apartments on the top floors,” he hyped. “Wherever you are in the building you’ll have equal access to the community facilities on the top floor, which I could easily spend the next hour extolling.” He also rhapsodised on the building’s Great North Road location: “It really doesn’t get better than this. You’re an easy amble from Grey Lynn, West Lynn, Ponsonby, even K’Rd and Kingsland where you will find, definitively, the best restaurants, cafes and shops in Auckland, nay, in the Southern Hemisphere!”
A London high street vibe
Seizing the baton, Hannah Chiaroni-Clarke took a moment to explain how theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, the building’s eponym, had a knack for making things simple. “I was reading about Feynman when Mark and I started to think about our approach to the site,” she said. “We really liked the idea of taking this block and breaking it down into a bunch of smaller buildings, seven to be exact, as a way to add some character, charm, and quaintness to Great North Road.”
“The buildings are designed to read more at a scale you might see in a high street in London or New York and look like it has been built up over time, creating this kind of rhythm and cadence to the street as you walk or drive by.”
Confidently leading the livestream viewers (at this point numbering in excess of 100 million) to a model of the building, Ms Chiaroni-Clarke breezed through the many amenities on The Feynman’s rooftop: “There are two large communal lounges and kitchens, and an almost 500m2 deck, which we’ve broken up with the eye of our landscape architect to create lots of pockets and nooks.”
She continued: “We’ve purposely designed these spaces so it feels cosy for a small dinner party but can also flex and accommodate larger events and celebrations. There is also a rooftop heated plunge pool (probably the coolest pool in the city) and then a shallower pool great for kids or grandkids, a separate events room to book out for a private personal training session, yoga class or movie night, two work-from-home offices and two bookable guest rooms, so if you don’t have a spare room, there’s always somewhere for friends and family to come and stay.”
All go at Ockham
Ockham’s project management guru, Fiona Towers stepped up with run through Ockham’s sites around town. “It’s all go at Ockham on the project management and construction side of things,” she said. “We’re putting the finishing touches on Star Newton; we’ve completed the excavations at Aalto and Koa; we’re pouring the slab for the ground level of building two at Aroha and you might have seen the rather impressive-looking crane that’s now up at The Greenhouse. Work is also gathering pace at Manaaki over in Onehunga. We can’t wait to get started on The Feynman though!” she exclaimed.
Ms Towers explained that since Ockham is a vertically integrated company, in-house construction would get the job done with aplomb at The Feynman. “We’re lucky at Ockham that we have our own construction company, which means that we get to look after the project all the way through – from design through to construction. It’s also really helpful for us to get a quick response to any of our design queries as the build goes along. This is particularly important for Ockham as we don’t do bog standard designs!”
A proud occasion. A strange time
Ockham Imperator Mark Todd shared his thoughts on The Feynman, Ockham, and the collective mood in Auckland.
“This is our 21st development,” he said. “I’m incredibly proud of it. I’ve hugely enjoyed the process of imagining it, and Hannah’s done an incredible job with the design.”
His vision for the project – and the company – was simple. “We’re heading toward 100 staff now and as we’ve got bigger its become more and more important to me that we just do two things at Ockham. First, I want our staff and everyone who works with us to enjoy the process of building these amazing buildings. I never expected to be running six major projects concurrently like we are at the moment. And the second thing is as we grow... I just want to recommit that all our buildings, and all that we do, is us working to the best of our imagination.”
Onto omicron. “I just want to touch on the strange times we find ourselves in. We’ve got a bunch of staff out with the ‘cron. I think everyone’s fear and anxiety gauges are running on high at the moment – myself included. These are unusual times... it’s really hard to dislodge that feeling of our lives being on hold.
“But we’ll get through this – and hopefully there’ll be some enjoyment in seeing this building, looking through something new. Tāmaki Makaurau is an amazing city; we want to be part of that story, of the changing urban fabric.”
A final word for Ockham’s supporters. “Thanks again to all our customers, clients, followers and owners who have shown trust in us for 13 years. It’s been hugely humbling to have that support; we couldn’t be where we are without you.”