23 May 2018
The history of Kerepeti’s bricks
Hobsonville Point has a unique history in terms of its former uses. First home to a large Kauri forest, the land eventually started to be known for its rich clay soil, and was first used predominantly for farming. In the early 1900s, a pottery works was opened in nearby Limeburners Bay where bricks and clay pipes were made in an effort to drain the land, which it was found was too rich in clay to farm. It was the efforts of these early pioneers that initiated our ceramics industry, with the iconic New Zealand pottery brand Crown tracing its roots to this area.
Then, in the mid-1920s, Hobsonville Point was earmarked as a site for aviation and in 1929 the Air Force began operation in the area, continuing to use the site for more than 70 years until Hobsonville Point as we know it today began to emerge.
Some of the original buildings constructed for aviation-related operations remain, as do original homes - most notably Mill House, which was built for Audrey and Doug Mills who were pioneering figures in New Zealand aviation. Many of the other original homes on the site have been preserved and renovated, and now form part of the crucial link the new suburb of Hobsonville Point has with its history.
So it was with this history and context that the initial design for Kerepeti’s two neighbourhoods, Uku and Kerewhenua, was developed. “The very early stages of central ideas, and we took those to drive the types of materials we used.”Architects’ Andrew Burton says. “The brickworks and the moulding of clay were the the design process saw us take on this idea of the history of the site,” Context
Brick features heavily throughout both Uku and Kerewhenua, with different types and colours of brick used to create both a diversity of palate and a recognisable aesthetic.
“It is a material associated with having something that lasts, which is what the homes are Kerepeti are,” Andrew says. “For us, it was about providing something for future generations.”
The bricks used across Uku and Kerewhenua range from white to red and black, as well as multi-stock brick, which has a rich colour variation. “What they do to create the multi-stock bricks is burn the face of them, which creates the richness
of colour and varied palette.”
Multi-stock bricks are often used to create an interesting sense of movement and diversity across large facades to counteract the otherwise rigidity of the patterning of bricks.
Across both Uku and Kerewhenua, bricks feature predominantly on the perimeter facades which face the road and signify the outer limits of each neighbourhood, and help to create a solidity and sense of place. However, in the majority of terraced homes the brick on the public facing areas is contrasted in colour and form with weatherboards in the more intimate areas. In this way, the weatherboards juxtapose the richness and tactility of brick, and create a clear differentiation between the public and private faces of the homes.