Commissioned by Panuku Development Auckland under the Housing for Older People (HfOP) scheme, Wilsher Village provides 40 high-quality social housing units for vulnerable elderly people living in the Henderson region. Set back from the busy Henderson Valley Road and spread across one multi-level building, the development creates a safe community environment for residents. Each unit allows for passive surveillance with a view of the street or a common area to encourage a feeling of support and ‘looking out for each other’.
Ignite’s role on this project was twofold: first, to assist Panuku Development Auckland with creating the HfOP Design Brief, which sets the standard for all future HfOP developments; and second, to lead the design for Wilsher Village.
“The HfOP scheme welcomes older people into a safe, healthy, and warm living environment. Wilsher Village is a meaningful home for the most vulnerable older members of our society.”
Wilsher Village consistently promotes social interaction. External windows and viewshafts overlook the grounds, helping residents feel safe and secure, while the balcony on each unit offers another connection to the outside. Internally, apartments have windows with views into the public hallways, encouraging neighbours to check in on each other.
All units and common pathways allow easy access for those using a walker, scooter, or wheelchair. These generous circulation paths feature rest areas—spaces where residents can stop to chat with their neighbours—without feeling like they are blocking a thoroughfare.
A sense of residential scale and rhythm is created by breaking down the building’s roofline into four volumes, conveying the feeling that it is a family of homes drawn together around a common street.
Materials like seam profile metal and brick veneer were chosen for their high-quality, low-maintenance, and enduring nature. Apartments enjoy access to sunlight during the day, while double-glazed doors reduce road noise, improve IEQ, and allow the building to be economic to heat. Together, these elements ensure all residents have safe, warm, dry, and energy-efficient homes.
In our consultation with mana whenua, important environmental considerations were identified and integrated into the design. Rainwater, which is collected from the roof, is re-used in the garden; a space where residents can grow their own vegetables and fruit trees. To protect the local birdlife, trees were planted further back from the busy Henderson Valley roadside, reducing the risk of native kererū flying near traffic.