The two buildings of Wamaka combine symmetry, simplicity and classic lines unify old school aesthetics with a 21st century Auckland edge.
Finished in 2012, long before the 2015 Auckland Unitary Plan was consecrated, Wamaka – the name an amalgamation of the three original owners – show what can be done on a modest suburban section, creating ten 2-bedroom units in the space a single residential house would usually occupy. The considered way the two building’s footprints are arranged leaves ample space for a common lawn area, the green grass crisply contrasting with the Wamaka’s white breeze block exteriors.
These breeze blocks are one of Wamaka’s most distinguishing features. A standard of mid-century modern design, the humble breeze block evokes balmy subtropical weather, beach holiday accommodation, and simpler times. In recent years it has become prized for its nostalgia value and neat patterning effect, which can be seen at play in the square-in-square breeze blocks set along the balconies and stairwells at Wamaka.
The hollows in the breeze blocks, as well as being decoratively thrilling, allows for light to filter unobtrusively onto the balconies and down the stairs while still shielding them with privacy. When the sun is at the right bright angle, the square outlines are reprinted in shadow on the interiors. In retrospect, Wamaka could be considered an antecedent of Ockham’s love affair with brick forms and subtle pattern repetitions.Download a PDF