We are delighted to announce the promotion of James Daulton to the position of Associate at Ashton Mitchell.
James’ promotion to our senior leadership team recognizes the key role he has played leading the design team on some of our most complex projects, including the Sylvia Park Build-to-Rent apartments and N16 Kāinga Ora Apartments and Regional office, during his 3 years at Ashton Mitchell. James has proven himself to be an invaluable asset to the Ashton Mitchell team, showcasing his skills and expertise in design, delivery of projects, and acting as a mentor within the office.
“James has proven himself to be an invaluable asset to the Ashton Mitchell team, showcasing his skills and expertise in design, delivery of projects, and acting as a mentor within the office.”
Director Warren Payne says, “James is one of the few people who has joined Ashton Mitchell where their reputation preceded them and some of our current team asked to work with James prior to him joining the practice. James’ work at Ashton Mitchell has exceeded his reputation, with him leading challenging projects to a very high standard.”
From the Ashton Mitchell team, congratulations James on your appointment.
As part of James’ recent promotion, we took the opportunity to have a conversation about his promotion and the Sylvia Park Build-to-Rent project currently under construction.
(AM): Congratulations on your promotion James, it certainly is well-deserved. You’ve been with Ashton Mitchell for 3 years and led some of the larger projects in the office – any standouts for you?
(JD):Thank you! I am very happy about taking on more of a role in the senior management team. It’s been quite a journey over the past three years at Ashton Mitchell. If I had to pick a standout project, it would be N16 Kāinga Ora Apartments and Regional office in Northcote. Firstly, it was quite a unique introduction to working with Ashton Mitchell, as it coincided with New Zealand’s first Level 4 lockdown. So, apart from the Directors I had met during the interview process, it was well over a month before I could meet the rest of the team in person. Despite the challenges that this created, it all worked out in the end, and I’m grateful for that.
The N16 project involves the construction of eighty-five apartments across three separate six-level buildings in the Northcote redevelopment area. The ground level includes Kāinga Ora area offices and commercial spaces for support services and the wider community. We have a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, all of which are 100% Kāinga Ora Social Housing.
The development provides extensive on-site amenities like common rooms, a communal kitchen, BBQ courtyards, a playground, and garden shelters. These spaces are meant for residents to socialise, relax, and engage with one another. Personally, I’m passionate about social housing, and I strongly believe that it should be of the same quality as commercially developed housing in terms of architectural response. That’s one of the main reasons why working at Ashton Mitchell was so appealing to me, as Ashton Mitchell’s record of delivering high-quality social projects like Waterview Court and Galway Street. I see N16 Kāinga Ora Apartments and Regional office as a natural continuation to these previous award-winning projects.
(AM): Speaking of designing additional housing, I heard you have been working on the Sylvia Park project, which is the largest built-to-rent development in New Zealand. How do you think the New Zealand market will respond to this type of housing in the future?
(JD): Yes, we’re collaborating with i2C|Ryder Architects from Australia on the Sylvia Park project. Although we joined the project at the developed design stage, our local expertise in large-scale multi-residential apartment projects has been invaluable. The Build-to-Rent (BTR) sector is a fascinating space to be working in, and I believe it will continue to grow in New Zealand. With a decreasing rate of home ownership and more people seeking a flexible work-life balance, BTR housing addresses those needs. Working on this project with i2C|Ryder and with our client, Kiwi Property, has given us the opportunity to understand the fundamental differences in design and amenity value compared to traditional apartment models.
In BTR, residents move in and out frequently, so it’s crucial to specify durable products and work with suppliers known for their craftsmanship and quality. The apartment design and the overall development needs to cater to a wide range of potential end-users and maintain a fresh look and feel for over a decade of use. The Sylvia Park BTR development aims to create a vertical neighborhood that enhances the social experience for both residents and the wider community through creating an environment where residents can enjoy their local neighborhood with the necessary amenities.
“The Build-to-Rent (BTR) sector is a fascinating space to be working in, and I believe it will continue to grow in New Zealand.”
(AM): Multi-residential apartment developments are a significant part of Ashton Mitchell’s work. How has your experience in multi-residential design contributed to the successful delivery of the Sylvia Park project?
(JD): Through a combination of circumstances and my own interests, I’ve ended up specialising in mid and high-density apartment design, documentation, and execution. It’s a specialised skill set, and I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the industry’s best in this sector throughout my career. Each project presents its unique challenges, but I believe the key to success in multi-residential developments is having a broad, detailed understanding across all consultant disciplines. This enables us to deploy the necessary specialist knowledge when needed, simplifies the construction process, and minimises potential costs for our clients.
“Each project presents its unique challenges, but I believe the key to success in multi-residential developments is having a broad, detailed understanding across all consultant disciplines.”
(AM): Lastly, from an architectural perspective, what are the distinctive design considerations and features that will set the Sylvia Park BTR project apart in the market?
(JD):The Sylvia Park BTR project is truly exceptional and one-of-a-kind in New Zealand. To date no other development has delivered such a large-scale project with such meticulous attention to amenity, thoughtfulness, and consideration. I genuinely hope that it will be a resounding success for our client, Kiwi Property, and that BTR developments become a permanent fixture in Aotearoa’s housing market. Our housing needs are complex and multifaceted, at very different ends of the market both the N16 and Sylvia Park BTR projects are something to be proud to be involved in.
Thanks for your time James, we cant wait to see how Sylvia park develops over the coming months, and congratulations again from the AM team on your Promotion.