Solari Architects

Solari Architects

Wellington, NZ


Well-designed apartments set benchmark for Waterloo densification

By Anthea Belessis
Nov 24, '22 12:45 PM EST
Photography by Simon Devitt
Photography by Simon Devitt

Cambridge Terrace Apartments, located within walking distance of Waterloo’s train station, showcase the benefits of New Zealand’s now more relaxed planning regulations that allow dwellings’ greater height and site coverage. The architect responsible for the design, Solari Architects Director James Solari, says the three-storey, 15-apartment design will deliver owners and residents a comfortable, convenient and contemporary place to call home.

“Densification is not something to be feared,” James asserts. “Thanks to savvy design, it can be revered!” A good case in point is the way in which the Cambridge Terrace architecture cleverly capitalises on its corner site. The majority of apartments are positioned to enjoy an enviable north-eastern aspect.

All second and third-storey apartments benefit from balconies with fine railings that reveal views out to the neighbouring park and/or the Eastern and Western Hills beyond. “This strategy enabled us to seamlessly unite interior spaces with the surrounding environment,” James explains. The result is warm, well-lit and welcoming lounge and dining areas. Generous ceiling heights of 2.7metres and window heights of 2.4metres — both well above average residential specs — add to that sense of spaciousness.

Beautifully balancing privacy + connection

Debunking the misconception that densification tends towards monolithic streetscapes, Solari Architects opted to modulate the Cambridge Terrace façade. “Our approach is a stepped arrangement, whereby the apartments appear staggered between individual walls,” James explains. As well as adding to its street appeal, the façade’s design precludes residents from being overlooked by neighbouring balconies.

Meanwhile, the design of the ground-floor apartments comprises a subtle elevation from the footpath. When combined with appropriate fencing and landscaping, this approach strikes precisely the right balance between sufficient privacy and easy access to the public thoroughfare.

Amenity + affordability

Solari Architects worked closely with the Hutt City Council to enhance the green space that delineates the footpath from the boundary of the new apartments. “That ‘reserve’ will be elevated with fresh planting, to not only enhance the streetscape but signal a real sense of ‘arrival’ at the apartments,” James explains. It’s a strategy that also helped maximise the building’s footprint — enabling construction right up to the boundary line. The result? Greater capacity for more apartments, which helped constrain prices and maintain affordability for buyers.

Solari’s dual design exemplars

No strangers to the benefits of densification for the Lower Hutt region, Solari Architects were also responsible for the successful design of the Fairfield Waters duplexes and townhouses, that set the benchmark for medium-density in the region back in 2016. For their most recent project, James has similarly high expectations. “Cambridge Terrace is a great new addition to this community,” he says. “Its proximity to the train station will likely lead to less reliance on vehicles and encourage new residents to explore local retail and recreation outlets — a win for the environment and a win for the region.”

Developers praise design

According to Riviera Group Director Greg Shackel, the swift sale of all Cambridge Terrace Apartments is testament to its outstanding design. “As well as being a beautiful-looking building, the utilisation of space is equally impressive,” Greg says. “The entire development is very well proportioned and each apartment offers great room sizes. This is truly a landmark development for Waterloo and proves, yet again, that Solari Architects is a high-calibre practice.”