Photographer - Simon Wilson
This family home is situated between a busy street and a popular park bordering the Waikato River. From the eastern road frontage, the site slopes down toward the western park adjoining boundary at the rear. On either side the building envelope is hemmed in and overlooked by the nearby neighbours. In response to the constrained building envelope and its lively context, careful site analysis and design has enabled the building to maintain important thresholds for privacy while generating an openness towards the view and neighbourly interaction with park users.
From the street very few signs From the street very few signs of habitation are detectable. Three interlocking gables forms run longitudinally, rising toward the centre of the site. Thoughtfully placed walls provide privacy while serving as an acoustic barrier to reduce road noise.
"Carefully designed to maintain important thresholds of privacy on the higher eastern side and lower western park aspect, this home maintains openness towards the view and opportunities for neighbourly interaction with park users. The interlocking gables, thrust in part over the lower walls, provide attractive massing from the street. The compact and thoughtful plan, together with well-proportioned courtyards, make this house a joy for its owners."
- NZIA Waikato Bay of Plenty Jury
The high-level eastern windows admit morning light into the living spaces and illuminate the taller volume of the living space. The sunken lounge with cropped glazing to the park and soft light from above offers the inhabitants an opportunity to retreat deeper into the building when a refuge from the public realm is desired.
The planning of the home reflects the client’s love of art, wine and entertaining. The compact layout of the ground floor seeks to minimise unnecessary circulation and allow public and private spaces to exist in close proximity. Privacy between these spaces is maintained by carefully restricting sight lines and forming discrete thresholds. As the clients had hoped it would, this building nestles comfortably into its context and becomes the tasteful but unassuming host for their social and solitary activities.
From the park the house reveals a different aspect to its character. Larger expanses of glass lead onto an elevated deck and a sheltered outdoor entertainment area and open the living spaces out towards the public green space. The ground floor level is raised to allow occupants to look over the boundary fence and take advantage of expansive park views while enjoying the notion of a protected position that elevation affords. Sliding external screens with adjustable louvres allow the house to respond to changing seasons and the need for varying levels of privacy.