Congratulations if you have got this far – your reading is almost complete. During the previous
dozen or more chapters we have endeavoured to find out everything about MDH and report it here for your absorption and digestion. MDH is a big, bold new step for Aotearoa and we need to be sure that we are all as well prepared for it as possible. Hannah Hopewell discussed the need for thinking about the importance of the site, the boundaries, the placement of buildings into the landscape, and the acknowledgement of what was there before. That desire to be part of a community and the need for a common space for MDH projects is a vital one, with our successful Case Study projects featuring the importance of common outdoor space as a crucial part of any development, as well as linking intelligently to quality external space.
We have discussed the reasoning behind this sudden urgent push towards MDH, and the various ways and means to get there. This book is a technical design guide, not a planning guide, as there are already many of those out there, some good and some not so good. The Auckland Design Manual is an excellent resource, while Sills van Bohemen’s Good Solutions Guide for Apartments (2002 – now out of print but still available as a download) is also a really useful and comprehensive guide. BRANZ have put in a lot of the background research, while the Ministry for the Environment is coming out with a simple Design Guide later this year and we’ve heard rumours that MBIE may also be going to significantly upgrade the NZ Building Code to take into account the speed and direction that NZ is changing its housing. The Government of Victoria has excellent MDH reference guides, as does New South Wales, and of course the London Design Guide also has excellent advice and together they all encompass metropolises with millions of people. Let’s learn from everyone else’s mistakes and not make fresh new mistakes of our own. All of these guides will need to be read and digested by all the architects working on MDH right now – and we’ve tried to distil their essence into this Medium book project and make it understandable for the average reader.
Where this book is different is that it ties in the input from around 30 industry-leading product suppliers and their information about their materials and systems. It was a difficult choice to make as to whose products and systems we could show, and this relied on all of the selected products being highly relevant to the fast-growing field of MDH in NZ. We are pushing people to think not of MDH as being just another residential housing project, but as something way more than just housing. MDH is the future of housing for us all, and while you may not be living in MDH now, it is fairly certain that your children will be, one day. The products and systems that you specify today will still be in buildings in 50 years time, so we need to make sure that we get it right this time.
The book has been, at times, difficult to write and to illustrate. Who am I to tell you what to do, or not? I know that many of you will feel that you have way more experience than I have in designing MDH, and you would be right. I’ve had experience in designing and constructing just a couple of hundred apartments spread over several different projects, in this country and overseas, while many of you may have done many more than that on a single project. But all our experience is useful, and so I wanted to bring together all the findings into one place to enable all of us, both the experienced and the beginners, to come up with designs for a better New Zealand – and better living for all of us here. Whether we are renting, owning a home, or flatting, we all deserve the best standard of housing that we can get, especially in our MDH future.
Medium is the message.
Te Aro, 2022