A small but very public site occupied by a tired brick cottage and overshadowed by two rather unattractive townhouses presented us with an intriguing project. Turning its back on the neighbours above, it opens to the street, with a series of screens and level shifts being used to create privacy and openness inside. Due to proximity to the street and the main living level being located on the second floor it was decided an outdoor room offered more useful outdoor living than a simple deck. This also extended the compact footprint over a car port space below providing protection to the lower level entry.
A relatively straight forward resource consent process was navigated to allow the additional height of the third floor, providing a crow’s nest main bedroom suite to enjoy views over Miramar and provide a quiet retreat in the house. The lower level is occupied by entry, bedrooms, bathroom and laundry, and the stair is the major circulation space in the house.
The house is somewhat anthropomorphic in its form, perched on a narrow strip of land to the rear of the site, and opening to, and overlooking a flat grassed lawn area from the lower level on the road side. The materiality and colour is used to allow the house to read as a single form, while also allowing it to recede back into the hillside therefore expanding the area of open ground.
This project is a collaboration between client, builder and architect, where each party trusted the other two to bring their knowledge, skills and commitment to the house. It was realised on a limited budget through careful decision-making and clarity of vision.