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Auckland City Mission


CBD, Auckland, New Zealand


The Auckland City Mission (Te Tāpui Atawhai) is a charitable organisation providing health and social services to Aucklanders in desperate need. Established in 1920, the Auckland City Mission (ACM) provides support to those experiencing homelessness, needing food, and seeking low-cost medical services. 

With a vision to end chronic homelessness in central Auckland, ACM opened HomeGround. The property is owned by ACM and was built for, by, and with Aucklanders and takes an NZ-first model of supportive housing.

The 12,000sqm 9-storey transformational project includes 80 permanent apartments with wraparound services to help address many factors that contribute to homelessness.  

The building was designed and constructed to demonstrate in physical form the values and respect needed to support, nurture, and consider the hauora (health and wellbeing) of residents and wider community, as well as the physical environment it impacts through integrated social, environmental, cultural, and economic solutions. 

The apartment residents have exclusive access to the rooftop residents’ lounge, deck and garden including a greenhouse for growing plants and vegetables. They also have access to the other community facilities within the building including a community café; activity spaces; 30-bed medical centre; withdrawal (detox) facilities; pharmacy; educational and training facilities; emergency support and meal services; budgeting advice and other support networks; and community spaces for the public.  

TSA Riley was engaged in several hui (meetings) on the project aims, visions and core values that were held with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in the developed design stage. The design followed Te Aranga Māori design principles and trauma-informed principles, with many elements introduced to demonstrate ACM’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The gabled roof evokes the image of a large house, and the gable resembles a wharenui. 

Sustainability performance was a key design factor. The building was specifically designed to several good practice environmental design principles (e.g. water retention, material reuse, choice of carbon sequestering / lower carbon materials, waste minimisation). Sustainable principles that were implemented included photovoltaic panels, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), rooftop edible gardens, sort-at-source waste management and rainwater harvesting, as well as access to natural daylight and the use of robust, non-toxic and locally sourced materials to provide a healthy environment for residents, clients and staff. 

The use of locally sourced CLT was a cost-effective solution that provided a robust, lightweight, prefabricated response and sustainable solution, which minimised the building’s embodied energy, structural depths, construction time and onsite labour. As the use of CLT was relatively new to Aotearoa, the team spent considerable time upfront to understand the product, consenting pathway and installation methodology.  

As the country’s tallest CLT building, the successful completion of this project has created a pathway for other buildings across the country to take a more sustainable approach and has resulted in a new emerging industry focusing on mass timber as a viable solution. The increased adoption of mass timber delivers industry and community benefits, including the adding of value to raw materials, sustainability, safety, and end-user experience.