The genesis of this commission was as a future development feasibility report in 2012 by Imagine whilst the clients were living and working in Russia. The report concluded that the coastal views may be compromised by future developments in front of the site. The recommendation to remedy this was to remove the existing single storey 1920’s bungalow and a new 2 storey home be built in its place. The design would connect to the existing garage and it would have living on the top level. Fast forward to 2015, the owners are home, retired and the design is underway!
The existing garage attaches to the new dwelling via an existing stair well, a datum to extend from. A lift connects all three levels. The middle level has the main entry, guest bedrooms, bathroom, laundry, and a pool lounge complete with its own kitchenette. The pool lounge connects onto a large terrace that steps down to the pool. The lower elevation of the pool and pool fencing ensures the coastal vista is uninterrupted from the terrace and lounge. The top level in addition to the living spaces also contains the master suite which is positioned to capture the morning sun and coastal views. This upper level provides expansive sea views that extend across the city and towards Mt Taranaki. The kitchen is the hub that all spaces connect to including the hardwood deck. The main roof is pitched to provide volume and allow the sunlight to reach deep into the home.
The form of the home draws inspiration from mid-century modern architecture with cantilevers, slender pole supports and clean boxy elements. The external material palette has been kept minimal with plaster and cedar. The frontage terraces and layers up from the street bring a human scale to what is an otherwise tall structure.
The entry is connected to the upper living via a double height void and custom stairs. The stairs are made from oak sourced from a local Eltham farm. The oak is accented with machined lead bullets discovered during fabrication. If the stairs could only talk! The internal material palette is composed of natural timber, grey & black tiles, glossy white kitchen, and glass all set against simple white walls & ceilings.
The design of the house involved solar modelling to track sun angles into the spaces at both different times of the day and the year. This process determined the optimum allocation of space and light whilst still adhering to good passive solar design principles which also include a polished concrete mid-level floor for thermal mass. A balance was sought between window size for the views versus thermal efficiency so rather than a continuous panorama of glass a series of unique windows portals was implemented framing individual views. High levels of insulation, motorised upper level windows and strategically placed sunshade louvres help maintain a comfortable four seasons environment. The upper level living spaces connect seamlessly to the exterior deck expanding the usable and visible living space.