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Family Residence

A semi-retired couple wanted a home that would better suit their new lifestyle now that their family had left the nest.

In this case the chosen site was a large NW facing 'lifestyle block' in a subdivision north of Wellington.

The client’s brief required that the house be large enough to comfortably accommodate frequent guests, specifically children and grandchildren. Consequently the plan provides two sleeping wings separated by the communal living areas.

The plan also explores the separation of the ‘public’ and ‘private’ areas of the house using a curved wall as the defining element. The house is approached from the convex side of the wall, accommodating the public areas. Large openings through the wall lead to the ‘private’ side of the house. Here the wall becomes concave ‘embracing’ the private living areas, family bedrooms and the landscape beyond.

The curved wall is emphasized through the use of colour, texture and thickness. The roof of the house floats above the wall and allows a permeation of light between public and private through the use of high-level glazing.

The public/private aspect is further expressed through the materials and character changes from one side of the barrier wall to the next. From the street, the house assumes a shed-like character, clad in horizontal corrugated iron with only the garage door and main entrance suggesting human habitation. As you enter into the public space you are confronted by the curved wall. The roof above appears to dissolve while the materials remain utilitarian - corrugated iron, polished concrete flooring, timber decking and aluminium joinery. As you transcend into the private areas through openings in the curved wall, the materials metamorphosize into softer carpet, painted plasterboard and tiles, belying a more homely atmosphere.

The house presents a rather austere exterior to its suburban neighbours, and from the motorway is barely visible as the roof line follows the rise of the hill. This exterior austerity contrasts with the flamboyancy of the interior which uses light, colour and texture to enhance the living environment and provides for an interesting and varied choice of spaces to enjoy the ‘rural’ surroundings.

 
 
 
 
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