A highly sought-after Mid-century flat in a Christchurch block designed by the late Sir Miles Warren has sold under the hammer for $635,000.
The tiny Historic Place Category 1-listed flat in the Dorset Street Flats attracted 31 bids, with two final bidders battling it out to the end.
The flats are a leading example of the “Christchurch School of post-war architecture” and rarely come on the market. The listing noted the flats marked “the emergence of a new kind of residential living in New Zealand, that is, a small-scale group of purpose-designed, modern, modest-sized one-bedroom city flats for minimal living”.
The restoration was designed by Young Architects, and completed after two-and-a-half years of construction. The flats have their own website, and Craig Garlick, the owner of the flat that was occupied by Sir Miles himself says he is thrilled at the positive outcome: “It's been a long slog, frustrating at times, but totally worth it to achieve such a great result. These buildings are such an important part of our national story in terms of design and architecture, and even in the way urban people chose to live.”
Katharine Burrell of First National, who held the listing with James Abell of First National Progressive, said the restoration was designed to preserve all the original character. For example, the kitchen still features open shelving with sliding doors and cut-out finger pulls. The original painted concrete block walls remain, plus a wall of timber shelving with a built-in writing desk. Other interior walls feature board-formed concrete.
“A lot of thought went into the design back in 1956, and it’s so relevant for today,” Burrell said. “I gather Sir Miles was really thrilled when he found the land for this project, because it has a wide street frontage, so all the flats, which are slightly elevated, face the street. The original stables behind have been rebuilt as garaging, and there are communal laundry facilities.”
The agent said it was difficult to price the one-bedroom 50m² flat because the value went “way beyond the bricks and mortar”.
Colleen Hawkes, The Press, 29 June 2023