The quarter acre dream is a thing of the past in New Zealand, with the standard sized urban site now more commonly looking like 450m2. This represents a significant reduction in land area, and with it, the need to consider more carefully the quality of spaces being designed, rather than the scale.
Over the last few years, affordability and these diminishing site sizes have had their effect on the residential vernacular and what is considered luxurious. “This is a term that once seemed to resonate with palatial styling, but that has surrendered to a new, more modest archetype,” CoLab Architecture director Tobin Smith says. “Finally, a sense of place is winning over indulgence, with greater consideration being placed on context, quality of space and materiality.”
Traditionally, size represented luxury, and it was common for clients to bring a brief to an architect that consisted of excessive requirements in regards to floorplan – four bedrooms, additional study, guest wing and the like. But with reduced site sizes and the cost of building steadily increasing, Tobin says the shift towards quality means carefully considering spaces and how they are used.