Lancewood Court Community Housing Complex, Christchurch


Beckenham Community Housing Trust and Christchurch City Council

Initiated after an assessment of vulnerable community housing needs by the Beckenham Baptist Church, the Lancewood Courts Complex evolved from a collaborative process with the parish, community, Council, welfare organisations and local elected representatives.


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After forming a new Trust (BCHT) to undertake and manage the project, the Church and Council engaged Common Ground to develop a concept design through a series of workshops (charrettes) with stakeholders.  The final design of 11 single person units in two blocks around a generous central courtyard was designed to encourage sociability, reinforce security and nurture community spirit.


Informed by a nearby Art Deco Church and other arts and crafts bungalows in the area, the design features deep overhangs (to provide shade in summer and weather protection for courtyards and decks in winter), verandas and bay windows add relief to the façades and provide surveillance of the street from the living rooms.


The large buildings are kept to domestic scale by the use of varied roof forms, materials such as locally sourced Darfield brick, plaster relief and locally designed artworks.


The resulting high quality housing and environment was achieved under budget using the rates of the Council’s other conventional concrete block social housing / pensioner flats. On opening, despite being under budget, it was slated by the local media as providing “Palaces for the Poor”.  It continues to remain a success story with an extremely low tenant turn-over allowing ongoing management to be achieved by a single, off-site, part-time supervisor.

•    Consultation & Stakeholder Engagement
•    Urban Design
•    Full Architectural Design and Documentation
•    Interior Design
•    Landscape Design
•    Resource Consent Planning
•    Tender Documentation and Contract
•    Co-Supervision of Construction

Project Value:

$NZ 1.4M (2000)   = $2M today

Value of Services Provided:

$NZ 195,000

Added Value:
•    Community consultation resulting in non-notified consent for intensive special needs housing project in existing neighbourhood
•    Integration of art with architecture
•    Full architectural design and documentation

•    Strategic partnership for the delivery of high quality social housing for intensive special needs within an existing community
•    11 One Bedroom units approx. 50m2 each
•    Practical Completion and Code of Compliance October 2000
•    On-time / on-budget
•    Energy efficiency: approximately 25% over similar conventionally designed units
•    NZIA Architectural Excellence Award 2002