aPods bring together six views on the same brief

A new development gives the same brief to six architects— but they don’t get to compare notes

Idealog November/December 2006, page 19. Photograph by Tony Drayton

An isolated collaboration: architects Patrick Clifford, Jeff Fearon, Pip Cheshire, Tim Hay, Ian Moore and Christopher Kelly (seated). Photograph by Tony Drayton

A new development gives the same brief to six architects— but they don’t get to compare notes

Architects might dress the same but you’d expect their buildings to be wildly different. We’ll soon find out when an unusual new development rises in Auckland’s CBD. Developer Douglas Rikard-Bell has given six architects the same brief for six buildings and stipulated that they can’t consult, consort or compare plans.

Rikard-Bell’s brief calls for a completely new kind of habitat for work, play and relaxation. The architects, from Auckland, Wellington and Sydney, have termed the new buildings ‘aPods’. They’re part of the Rhubarb Lane development, soon to begin on the site of the old Cook Street council depot.

Lead architect Ken McBryde says the unusual collaboration has unleashed an extraordinary amount of energy and mutual respect among the architects. “We’re now riding that wave through the rest of the project,” he says.

The aPods are just the beginning—the beating heart, as McBryde puts it—of a 20-building development covering the same space as the Sylvia Park site, but in the heart of Auckland.

It will be a year before aPods go on the market, but the architects hope that the aPod concept of ‘in-between spaces’ combining work and play will even lead to some new ideas from the inhabitants. “I’d love to live in one of these!” says McBryde. “They’re the kind of space that will nurture creative endeavour.”

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