"Both the house and the landscaping have a strong symmetry," says Cooney. "The layout of the rooms in the main house is very symmetrical as they spread out from the central stairwell and lobby. And the two guest wings, one on the east side of the house and one on the west, are mirror images of each other."
Cooney says at the request of the owners, the house was precisely aligned to orientate true north. This precision meant there was no margin for error, and new technology was incorporated to ensure measurements were exact for perfect alignment.
To accommodate the gradient, the house sits on two levels, with the main living area on the upper level. The architect designed the house to go through the ridge of the hill, rather than sit on top of it, so the building appears one level from the driveway. While the house was always designed to nestle into the ridge, now that the extensive landscaping is taking shape, the house is beginning to grow back into the land, which helps disguise its size.
The house, although large, needed to be flexible enough to accommodate a crowd of 14, or sufficiently intimate for just one person in residence. Consequently, it is designed for formal gatherings as well as casual beach house family living.
The centrepiece of the living room, or great room, is a fireplace made from local stone, which soars 7m to the vaulted ceiling beneath the pitched roof. Natural materials also feature on the ceiling, and all overhangs, which are lined with island kauri.