3 Basque is the conversion of a two-storey 1970’s office building into short-term stay apartments in the dark, forgotten fringes of Auckland’s CBD.


The brief was to maximise site development potential, creating an ‘edgy, yet lower budget’ apartment building. The idea is to infuse life and novelty back into the lifeless, functional building remnants of the 70’s and 80’s, –a site seen from various vantage points.

The scheme utilises the existing external columns, these becoming ‘legs’ for the new upper bulk –conceptually an alien-type Space Invader spacecraft descended upon the city’s eclectic fringe, essentially encapsulating the lower building. With the existing structure as a launching pad, this acts as the exoskeleton from which the newer upper levels find their foundation.


From an urban perspective, the locality is a fresh canvas on which to introduce interventions that will catalyse an exciting urban renewal. 3 Basque introduces a new node in the local streetscape, bridging the existing eclectic urban grain of Eden Terrace while synonymously overlaying a vibrant, futuristic architectural commentary, launching the Basque Road precinct into an exciting urban future.


Levitating above as a metallic vessel taking flight the building acts as a profound catalyst for the public imagination. Bound in the humdrum of a mediocre daily existence, the casual passer-by is unwittingly caught up in a fantasy of space-age travel, intergalactic rescue, and planet saving quests. 


The building’s shape, form, materials, and fenestration continue this narrative. Reminiscent of Sci-Fi type craft, the dark metal clad form generates a weighty metallic volume, angular edges punctuated by contrasting planes of glass.  Overlaid with pixelated screens, splashes of bright colour, functional transformable appendages, and shadowy recesses, these solidify a memorable yet innovative aesthetic realized within a tight budget.


Budget-conscious trades installed simple over-flashings, functional duct extracts, ventilation shafts, and pop-riveted panels, all working to further enhance the utilitarian feel and aesthetic.

Planning is simple yet fresh, interiors of pixelated carpets and splashes of colour, white apartments and timber-look surfaces.

Challenges included dealing with Council’s new Urban Design team grappling with the concept while the building exceeded the height restriction.


Celebrating the evolution of the building as it embraces another use, 3 Basque signals the ushering in of an exciting new epoch of local urban development and creative discourse.


The success is measured through maximised returns from travellers and locals eager to book in.

Pacific Environments is committed to architectural design excellence, creating inspiring 'fit for purpose' built environment solutions for our clients. 


Sustainability, lifestyle and the creation of enduring investment value is core to our design philosophy.

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09 308 0070  |  info@penzl.co.nz

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