Business North Dec / Jan 2022

90 | ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN Creative Arch: Mahurangi Central - Warkworth A broad spectrum of quality design Sue Russell 7 Glenmore Drive, Warkworth P: 09 425 7510 E: Stylish and Modern Windows and Doors Vantage Joinery! Proud to work with Creative Arch In 1998, architectural designer Mark McLeay established Creative Arch, an Auckland-based award-winning practice. The intention was always to engage in a broad spectrum of design contexts, from residential homes, sub-division and townhouse development, to commercial projects, alterations and renovations. It’s this variety that Mark says enables his team to engage creatively across all building sectors. Two other businesses are aligned with Creative Arch, sister company’s Resolution Arch, which focusses on remediation work and Infusion Arch, which is mainly centred around servicing the Asian market, designing large housing developments, multi-unit apartments, terraced housing, high-end residential and commercial projects. Asked why Creative Arch has evolved into one of Auckland’s leading architectural design practices Mark says the focus to engage at the highest level with clients, the contractor, and the consultant team from the inception through to completion of a project is critically important. “We know that this level of engagement provides the best platform for a design lead project ensuring a successful outcome. We seek clients who have the same high standards as ourselves.” This year, Creative Arch received a Highly Commended at the Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ) awards on 13 August. The judges recognised several values Mark and the team, who worked on ‘Mahurangi Central’, brought into the mix. Nestled now, on what was a vacant site right in Warkworth township’s main street and next to the historic Town Hall, Mahurangi Central began life in the design phase as a hospitality precinct, into a suite of professional offices, where Withers & Co Accountancy, now operates from. The site, owned by Simon Withers, offered challenges and opportunities for Creative Arch to make the most of the street-scape and to incorporate in its design and material choice a sympathetic reflection of how a modern, functional multi-use space could also settle well into its surroundings. “The town hall next door had undergone major refurbishment so we really wanted Mahurangi Central to connect with this historic building thru choice of materials and texture. We chose brick, precast concrete and Corton steel for most of the outer cladding and were guided by the town hall’s design in the proportions and scale of this development,” Mark explains. Re-adapting the original design to fit with the spaces a modern accountancy practice could work well in gave cause for some exciting innovation. Floor to ceiling glazing of three angled-office spaces, each capturing a view outward while providing a striking design element have given the building a modern and engaging look from outside. Inside, moveable partitions so spaces can be opened up and used to fulfil a number of purposes, while at rear of the building a space opens up for staff to enjoy a cuppa and the outside environment. “We wanted to go for an industrial feel to the building and the materials used and scale of walls and spaces affords this.” Feedback from staff working in the building is that they love working in it. “It is more open plan and engaging than their former working spaces.” Asked how busy his practice is Mark says a large number of multi-unit developments, first-home buyer properties and social housing enterprises are keeping the team engaged. “There is a huge demand for social housing driven by Government prioritising this to address the housing crisis at this time. We’re also doing a lot of high-end homes, alterations and remedial work, so all in all it’s a very busy time.” Mark says that one of the great aspects of the type of work Creative Arch, takes on is the sheer breadth of building form. “The diversity of the projects with fantastic clients that have a lot of confidence with us,” he says. Creative Arch also engages its staff in ongoing professional development, with in-house training programmes to enable all the team to upskill and stay abreast of modern technologies and design application.