Housing New Zealand congratulates Urban Design Manager

Jan 1, 1970 | News

Sue Evans outside the newly completed redevelopment of Waterbank Crescent in Auckland’s Waterview. The project was designed by Architectus.

Housing New Zealand warmly congratulates its Urban Design Manager, Sue Evans, who on Friday night (9 November) at Te Papa won industry recognition with a national award from the president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA).

Each year the NZIA President recognises, through this award, people who have given outstanding service to the Institute, supported its activities or generally assisted the cause of architecture in New Zealand.

“I’ve worked with Sue over many years and have always been impressed with her commitment to the cause of good urban design and her determination to make the most of whatever project she is involved with,” said NZIA President Tim Melville.

“Sue has very high professional standards, admirable personal integrity and a welcome collegial spirit. Institute is most appreciative of her contributions to the profession and the wider civic realm, and her generous collegiality.”

Sue works in Housing New Zealand’s Asset Development Group, the team responsible for replacing older houses, which are no longer fit for purpose, with modern state homes which are geared to modern living and enhance and complement established communities.

“It’s a really amazing job and I’m lucky and privileged to work in a field I’m so passionate about,” said Sue. “How we design and deliver the built environment has real effects on people’s lives. New Zealand is a beautiful country and we deserve to have our built environment delight us in a similar way.

“We need cities to enrich our lives through their design instead of being ugly and annoying. I’m for practical, functional design that is also beautiful.”

Sue manages a small team which leads spatial feasibility and the design strategy for Housing New Zealand’s delivery of new state and affordable housing projects, which includes the regeneration of brownfield suburban neighbourhoods in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. This includes the Jennings Jersey redevelopment in Mt Albert which won an Auckland Architecture award and a Property Council award.

“At the heart of the functionality of cities is density. Density done well supports public transport, adds vibrancy to social interactions, efficiently uses land, reduces urban spread into productive land, and makes cities function well,” said Sue.

“Housing New Zealand’s current job is really important in creating the homes Kiwis need. We have to balance the need to build more quickly and efficiently, with the importance of design that creates quality environments that work for people. It’s a big project and can only happen through the passion, energy and collaborative spirit of the great people we have at HNZ.”

Sue is particularly proud of the design of the forthcoming Jordan Ave North redevelopment in Onehunga, which will see 62 old units transformed into almost 200 apartments over 11 multi-storey buildings. When complete, Jordan Ave will see a mixed community featuring community gardens, a wide promenade, a community space and the retention of mature trees, along with bike and car parking.

Sue worked with Warren + Mahoney to develop a “street-based urbanism” that more befits the location, rather than the “campus-style development” that was originally envisaged for Jordan Ave.

She’s an adjunct senior lecturer at the University of Auckland, a certified independent planning commissioner and a member of HLC’s Technical Advisory Group, which provides design advice and approvals to applicants on developments within HLC neighbourhoods.

“Sue has made a real difference to New Zealand’s urban design culture, and has been a dependable advocate for architecture and for the public good,” adds Tim Melville. “She has also lent generous support to design education, having taught at the University of Auckland, AUT and Unitec, and to professional organisations including the Institute of Architects and Architecture+Women.”

Her downtime sees Sue cooking for friends, painting, potting and woodworking in her home shed, doing up an old villa by Mount Ruapehu and playing with her new puppy with partner Julie.

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