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For further information please contact: Mel Robinson, ph 027 808 4333, or email; John Harman, ph 021 955 197 or email:; NZGBC, Senior communications advisor, Niall Bennett, ph 09 951 0739, or email


2019 4:46 Natural Habitats – St Marks Development by Bruce Gatward-Cook/Natural Habitats.

Soaring five stories high, New Zealand’s tallest exterior green walls have been completed for St Mark’s luxury apartments and earned New Zealand’s first Homestar Innovation Point from the New Zealand Green Building Council.

Designed by landscape design and build company, Natural Habitats, the series of three green walls are also one of the largest green walls in the country at more than 112 square metres.

With more than 5000 predominately native plants, the walls’ design pattern features organic swathes of largely native plants with explosions of seasonal colour change, says Natural Habitats Landscape Architect, Ms Mel Robinson.

“Apart from visual benefits for the development’s residents, visitors and neighbours, the green walls also will have ecological benefits.

“The increased biodiversity provides additional bee and bird food, absorption of contaminants from the atmosphere and the production of oxygen. The walls will also contribute to reducing the ‘heat island effect’ and can help protect the building from temperature fluctuations and UV radiation.” ~ Mel Robinson

Located on the corner of St Marks and MacMurray Roads in Remuera, Auckland, the St Marks development is comprised of three separate six storey buildings. The vision of property developer John Harman was to develop a community where liveability and ease of living were paramount.

“I wanted to create a truly mixed use environment where people could live, work and entertain at home or downstairs in the restaurant.”

The buzz word in urban design is activation. In order to create a truly enjoyable internal piazza I insisted on the three full height green walls. These walls created an ever-changing landscape for the Grove apartments. They also created an inner sanctum from the noise of the city and a truly enjoyable space that would bring the residents together into a communal space thus creating activation.” ~ John Harman

The office commercial space is tenanted primarily by medical practices and echoes London’s Harley Street concept by creating a very visible gateway to St Marks Road and Remuera Road where there is a concentration of doctors, dentists and other health professionals.

As well as earning an Innovation Homestar point for the green walls, the perfect North East and North West facing apartments allowed the development to create Homestar 6, 7 and 8 rated apartments.

“This means they are very energy efficient with the window and outdoor room design allowing the individual apartment owners to create their own flexible lifestyles,” says Mr Harman.

Finally, the cafe and restaurant spaces will provide the surrounding community with a visible and vibrant space for breakfast, lunch, drinks and dinner.

The only obstacle at the outset was the presence of the adjacent motorway fly over which has been turned into a positive by facing the motorway with six stories of commercial space thus providing a sound barrier for the residents.

Developed by the New Zealand Green Building Council to rate a home’s performance and environmental impact, Homestar awards points on a scale from 1 to 10 across seven categories: energy, health and comfort; water; waste; materials; site; home management; and an optional innovation category.

The New Zealand Green Building Council’s CEO Andrew Eagles says the Homestar rating is an independent, robust and straightforward tool to show what the building has achieved, and communicate the quality of the building to investors and residents.

“These great green walls are not only innovative, they’re also great for the environment and for the health and well-being of the New Zealanders who’ll be living at St Marks. That’s why we’re really pleased to see this exciting development achieve the very first Homestar Innovation Point. Nice work, St Marks and Natural Habitats.” ~ Andrew Eagles

Natural Habitats’ green walls reach for the sky at St Marks, New Zealand’s tallest outdoor living walls.


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