Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand 2010
A ridge, stretching between Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf and the pastoral landscape of Waiheke Island, provided a stunning and challenging context in which to design a getaway house which is one day to become a permanent home. The clients are returning to live in New Zealand after a long period in Asia.
The approach was to work within the contour of the ridge in an attempt to minimise the impact on the landscape. The sensitivity of design preserves and enhances the essence of the surrounding landscape. The interconnected series of rooms and courtyards laid across the ridgeline silumtaneously opens out towards the ridgeline on one side, whilst remaining anchored to the earth on the other. A landscape wall clad in local coloured stone splays out from the primary plan form to provide a point of entry to the house, and allows for an excavated garage below the ground line.
Ascending the stair, one arrives at the house via a southern courtyard, welcomed by a dramatic revelation of an ever expansive view through the center of the house towards the horizon, across the Gulf and it’s idylic islands. The enveloped living spaces of the house are arranged either side of this courtyard and its accompanying northern courtyard, which are bridged by a gabled roof stretching across the long axis. The courtyards offer a retreat from the dominant wind and sun whilst allowing a subtle breeze to refresh the interiors.
The materiality of the house draws on two architectural conditions of Waiheke. The masonry forms were inspired by the gun emplacements of Stoney Batter. The use of cedar and plywood reflect precarious weekenders of the island’s past.