Following on from Sea Monkey’s photos last week of a giant crane amidst a sea of abandoned prefab house parts at the Countdown supermarket near the Tawa off ramp, the Eye of the Fish has been looking a little closer. We went out to site and found to our consternation that the number of houses on site appeared to be getting less each day – where were the houses going? Was someone stealing them ? Were the receivers taking the houses back to the factory? What was actually happening on site?
Luckily, the answer is all good. Over the past several months the contractors have been building platforms for the houses to sit on – and over the past couple of days the mighty Titan crane has been lowering houses over edge, stacking them 2 high in their finished arrangement. Looks like there will be a little work stitching the cladding together around the middle, but overall, of course, the units are looking great – onsite for only a couple of days and already looking complete. That is the beauty of Prefabrication as a means of production.
The site is an odd one, it must be admitted, with it being right next to the supermarket and the highway, almost directly above the Tawa creek and the Kapiti train line, right across from the Women’s Prison, etc, but also faces north-west, with the houses all being designed for the sun. They’re pretty simple houses – as basic is as possible – but I’m still going to go and visit just to check out their build quality, when at last it is open to the public.
The big question for me though, is: given that the housing is less than 100m to the Takapu Road rail station, how do they get there? There is, after all, not just a railway in the way, but a stream – and a rail bridge across that stream. I would have loved it if the designers had designed in a fresh little garden path straight to the rail station, but am very much less interested if the inhabitants are planning to drive into town.
As it is, I’m guessing that Kiwirail have not been keen to have private access onto their least-used station, and are forcing the inhabitants of the Matrix to instead take the blue pill and walk down the supermarket road, across the busy traffic bridge, and onto the station platforms that way. That’s fine: it’ll do.
I’m trusting that there is enough money left in the receiver’s pockets that they can get this project completed, sold off, and the money gets paid back to the relevant creditors. I’m also hoping, just quietly, that the name of Matrix Homes gets cleared, the factory gets re-opened, and the prefab revolution continues apace. It’s important for NZ that it does. And these small homes are just a first step along that way.