House 2 – Banner Image 2

Photographer - Simon Wilson

River Retreat

Recipient of the NZIA New Zealand small project architecture award, the simple skewed form of this house has an appropriate scale and presence within the wider landscape. On arrival visitors are led up a path alongside tall cedar screens before stepping up onto a deck and informally entering.  Capturing this sense of informality was a key design driver in creating a small family home that felt like a retreat. The kitchen is the hub of the home with the deck slicing through the plan. The living space steps down into a light filled volume reaching out to the river. A mezzanine pulls over above with an exposed bookcase balustrade providing a sense of homeliness. The rear of the house, delineated by the seamless pivot door, provides a place to retreat.

NZIA 2018 National Awards Badge_New Zealand
Award Badges-14


Taupiri, Waikato

House 2 – 1 of 10


"This small but sufficient house for the architect’s own family is a labour of love and the product of considerable skill. It’s a case of the house as homestead: a timeless type in contemporary guise. The design is an economic but also romantic response to site conditions – the busy highway to the east and the Waikato River right on the property boundary to the west – and the occupational demands for light and views, and privacy and a sense of shelter. Strength of form and delicacy of detail combine in a modestly-scaled and delightful work of architecture."

- NZIA National Jury

"A small house for a young couple on a rear site running down to the Waikato River. The main living areas step down to the river, while bedrooms are tucked away. A careful language of screens and exposed structure creates a simple yet elegant retreat."

- Home Magazine

House 2 – 2 of 10
House 2 – 3 of 10

Capturing a sense of informality was a key design driver in creating a small family home that felt like a retreat. The Bach typology of blurring of spaces and breaking down of thresholds corresponds with the expressed natural materials and tectonic detailing.

House 2 – 4 of 10
House 2 – 11 of 10
House 2 – 6 of 10
House 2 – 7 of 10
House 2 – 9 of 10
House 2 – 10 of 10
House 2 – 8 of 10
House 2 – 5 of 10