Reached by a long and winding access road, this home reinterprets local architectural and is oriented to give the homeowners their best life

Designed by Wendy Shacklock Architects

From the architect:

“Situated on the slopes of the Orakei Basin in central Auckland, the site – at the end of nearly a half-kilometre challenging driveway that winds around other properties and sits on the steep slope of a volcanic crater – had every difficulty you could imagine but it is spectacular, sheltered and central,” says architect Wendy Shacklock.

While the site threw every difficulty at her, Shacklock says the project benefitted from a quite specific owner brief in terms of functionality but complete openness in terms of form and materials. 

However, the homeowner wanted to achieve a flat lawn with swimming pool sitting flush with the living areas of the house on what is almost a one-in-three slope beneath a cliff. 

There was to be a study, media room and three bedrooms, with the main bedroom being on a mezzanine.

Most importantly, it must look like a house – not an apartment building.

“After consultation with engineers, a judicious level was struck for the main floor, cutting minimally into the cliff on the one hand and retaining and lifting the downhill boundary to create a level platform.

“Entry to the site is from the south-western corner, five metres below the main floor level, while the garage is further cut in, with internal access to the double-height entry stairwell. 

"The resultant section follows the natural contours with minimal manipulation in the overall scale of the cliff.”

The site enjoys a ‘wow’ view to the northwest, out across the basin and towards the Sky Tower and Auckland skyline. 

However, the architect says that did not automatically mean the house would be oriented in that direction.

“It is always challenging to be looking westwards and across water, and my instinct is always to orient a house as much as possible to the north anyway, which in this case allowed the focus to be over the land – taking in the private dell-like quality of the extreme end of the site.

“My personal belief is that views should be incidental to the experience of house, space and the relationships within."

The form and geometry of the house re-interprets the New Zealand vernacular of the gabled roof form predominant within the local suburb. 

The facade ‘bends’ with the site so that the entire north and west facing facades effectively form a sheltered bay – maximising water views to the west and north, as well as passive solar gain from the north.

“The manipulation of the facades in turn deflects the geometry of the gabled roof to create an irregular, sculpted form – the three-dimensional facade acts as an instrument for engaging with the garden and the basin, while expressing the dynamic forces of the volcanic contours.”

Credit list

Kitchen designer
Wendy Shacklock Architects
Strass Landscaping
Cedar shiplap, by Hermpac; quartz zinc, by Metal Design Solutions
Louvre system
Main flooring
Polished concrete
Bathroom tiles
General heating
Underfloor electric
Feature lighting
Pool fencing and shower stalls
Frameless Glass
Door hardware
Halliday & Baille
Insitu concrete walls
Ross Bannan
Precision Construction
Kitchen manufacturer
Countrylane Kitchens
Pool design/installation
Wendy Shacklock Architects; Morgan Pools
Pre-weathered quartz zinc, by Metal Design Solutions
Window/door joinery
APL Architectural Series, from Design Windows
Mezzanine flooring
Solid oak, by CTC
Dining table/chairs
Plumbing fittings
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended

Designed by: Wendy Shacklock Architects

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Patrick Reynolds

21 Aug, 2022

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