The Regent Park Apartments complex is situated on a tight site in Wellington’s Newtown. On entering via Owen Street, you would think that it is just that – apartments: apartments you might buy but certainly not what you’d imagine a council-owned social housing project might be like. It’s clearly evident why Wellington City Council’s (WCC) and the architects Designgroup Stapleton Elliot (DGSE) keep winning awards for the scheme and their precedent will, I’m sure, inspire better New Zealand housing in the future.
This complex was to be the only new build among the first nine projects to be completed as part of WCC’s housing upgrade programme. At the time of design, 70 to 80 per cent of WCC’s housing stock was bedsits and one-bedroomed apartments and Council was keen to introduce a mixture of family units into its portfolio.
DGSE’s brief was to design two, three and four-bedroomed units, which fitted well into the urban context and which were ‘safe, secure, durable, healthy and affordable’. They came up with three different typologies, resulting in: five three-bedroomed townhouses; three modules each containing six two-bedroomed apartments, linked in pairs by centrally glazed stairwells; and five two-storeyed, four-bedroomed houses of which four make up two duplexes and one is a stand-alone house.
— Excerpt from Architecture Now
Designgroup Stapleton Elliott