It is not an easy task to make a building look as if it has always been there, especially when in its previous life it was a liquor store, as is the backstory of this project. Borijan Milic completed this refurbishment project on Auckland’s design industry strip, The Strand in Parnell, over the course of six months while working at Strata Architects, creating a high-end collection of large-format shops from the street front store and a warehouse.
The existing buildings featured cast in-situ concrete walls and beams, with original timber and steel trusses. The designers wanted to take advantage of these industrial features while also making the building feel current. The project involved a good deal of sandblasting to strip the paint from the exterior walls and show the natural concrete beneath. A green wall was grown in to break up the hardness of the concrete, and overhanging vines around the carpark lend a palazzo effect. This is accentuated by planter boxes which double as lightboxes with the tenants logos displayed.
The stores’ new, large display windows appear like cut-outs in the building’s walls and elevate the building to the level of a new, contemporary shopfront. Inside, a striking silver and white steel box houses services and storage for the retail outlets.
Words by Camille Khouri
Photos by Sam Hartnett