The Airfields precinct is located at the centre of the masterplanned Hobsonville Point community. It’s an island of land that has long been under separate ownership. The site was once earmarked for a marine industries precinct, in part because it contains many large hangars and other pieces of infrastructure from the old Hobsonville Air Base. However, times change, and in 2014 Panuku Development Auckland embarked on a plan to develop the land for other purposes, working closely with HLC (ex Hobsonville Land Company).
Divided into six ‘megalots’, the Airfields is being developed as a residential neighbourhood that ties seamlessly into the diverse community of Hobsonville Point. The two megalots to the north will be developed as a 6 hectare mixed-use precinct with apartments and commercial uses in a precinct of adaptively reused heritage buildings complemented by new-builds.
With Special Housing Area status, The Airfields will offer at least 10% of affordable homes within the total of 900 mixed typology units. The residential streets and spaces have been designed to seamlessly connect into the surrounding community and continue the theme of Hobsonville-ness; easy and safe to walk or cycle around and designed to promote community interaction. This will create a distinctive neighbourhood within the whole, connected to the parks, schools and community facilities of Hobsonville Point.
The two mixed-use megalots at the north of the site, together with nearby waters-edge precinct of The Landing, will become the commercial heart of Hobsonville Point. Isthmus’ team developed reference designs for all the buildings in the precinct, including the adapted and reused heritage-listed hangars from the old air base. Buildings in the mixed-used precinct are designed to accommodate a range of commercial, retail, residential and educational uses. Diverse residential typologies will support a multigenerational community, from family apartments to retirement living and aged care facilities, supported by an early learning centre, gym and medical centre. The combination of commercial and residential uses located in the same neighbourhood will create a unique and lively town centre community.
The vision for the mixed-use precinct is supported by a suite of Design Guidelines that convey the intent of this benchmark neighbourhood. Best-practice urban design guidance with a design-reviewed consenting framework support the implementation of the guidelines a project-by-project basis, rather than relying on prescriptive rules. Flexibility and adaptability are critical components of an enduring masterplan. Taking cues from the existing built form to create a block structure able to support a wide range of uses, the Airfields will evolve into a desirable hub for residents, workers and visitors alike.
The open spaces provided within The Airfields create a series of connected landscapes which respond to their surroundings, and draws out a (re)connection with the ecology of this waters edge site. Stormwater management and water sensitive design principles are incorporated into the design as well as a set of aesthetic considerations that lie behind the unique character of the wider Hobsonville Point.