This compact site in Kohimarama presented the opportunity to design a home on a reduced platform that dropped off to a cliff and pocket of native bush.
To ensure privacy and seclusion from adjoining properties, its format was modelled on the modernist tract housing in Palm Springs. The dwelling’s L-shaped footprint turns its back on the neighbours and opens to a walled courtyard garden with a pool.
Planned over two floors, the lower level operates as a lock up and leave self-contained home for the owners, a builder and interior designer. They can make full use of the upper level, designed as a prism sitting above the lower floor, with its three bedrooms and a bathroom, when family and guests come to stay.
The key building materials – black-stained cedar and concrete block – are a modern interpretation of creosote weatherboard cladding and structural block. Yet their treatment has a stylistic refinement: the lightness of the narrow vertical boards, contrasts with the heft and horizontal lines of the stacked block. While the concrete elements at ground level maintain an immediate connection to the land, the timber boxes, with their battened screening, lend decorative interest.
A narrow hall beyond the front door offers an enticing sliver of glittering pool through louvre windows to one side. The entry journey is channelled around a corner before it expands into the welcome of the living and dining zone, and the enclosed courtyard.
Here, the long, narrow pool reflects the geometry of the upper level which projects above the space to form a sheltered covered patio. The western elevation cantilevers over a lush gully where well-considered window placement offers glimpses through to the lush native tree tops and abundant birdlife.
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Architects: Dorrington Atcheson Architects – www.daa.co.nz
Photographs: Emma-Jane Hetherington