Award accolades for Koura Apartments – Johnston Architects

“The main design challenge was providing the density of accommodation desired on the steeply sloping site, whilst providing a comfortable and high-quality experience for guests.”

Regan Johnston , Director

Award-winning Koura Apartments bring a refined aesthetic to Queenstown’s busy Gorge Road that visitors have been quick to appreciate.
The new addition, only a few hundred metres from central Queenstown, is already attracting a strong online booking presence and exceptionally high occupancy rates.
Regan Johnston and his team at Johnston Architects are proud to have received a 2020 Southern Architecture Award in the commercial category for designing these luxury apartments, but for this design-led studio the real satisfaction comes from knowing they’ve achieved the best possible result for their client.
“Our client is thrilled and credits the architectural merits of the design with occupancy rates that are ‘through the roof’,” says Matt Jeffery, a member of Johnston Architects’ project design team.
In all, 23 projects received awards in the 2020 awards round, run by Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA). The judges praised the Koura Apartments project, noting how the apartments stood out in a town of numerous short-term rental accommodation options.
Located on a narrow sloping site, Koura Apartments exemplify just how much can be achieved on a difficult piece of land when the right design team is in place.
“The main design challenge was providing the density of accommodation desired on the steeply sloping site, whilst providing a comfortable and high-quality experience for guests.
“The buildings are incredibly tightly planned to boundary setbacks, height and recession planes with less than 50mm to spare anywhere.”
There are six, three-bedroom apartments in total, each three storeys high, with generously glazed double height living spaces flowing onto decks and gorgeous views.
Two apartments are at the front of the site, with a vehicle parking forecourt between them. The other four apartments are to the rear at a lower level, overlooking a gentle stream toward Skyline Peak beyond.
Selecting profiled metal cladding and opaque Danpalon walls for the street frontage was a brilliant choice by the architects.
The twin volumes at the front, separated by the paved forecourt, allow for easy pedestrian access to the apartments beyond, as well as parking space.
The dramatic Danpalon walls create a strong street presence, especially at night. Danpalon also transforms the internal spaces with gentle diffuse light while providing privacy from the street.
High performance GIB and timber framing systems ensure excellent acoustic separation between apartments, with vertical sound separation within the apartments delivered through acoustic floating floor construction.
Johnston Architects take a holistic view on sustainability, believing that the creation of well-crafted timeless architecture is the key to sustainable design.
All finishes here were selected for robust simplicity and ease of maintenance. Walls, floors and ceilings are heavily insulated, with glazing areas judiciously limited to help improve thermal performance.
High efficiency mechanical ventilation with heat exchange units is complemented by natural stack ventilation through vast skylights in raised ‘chimneys’ within each apartment to exhaust warm stale air in summer months.
While best known for their high end residential work, Johnston Architects also works with leading commercial developers and clients.
Following their success at the 2020 Southern Architecture Awards, the team has been approached by further clients in the Queenstown region and is looking forward to another busy year.

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