Open and locked case

Celebrating exposed materials and tying in with semi-industrial neighbourhood elements, this home also offers a novel approach to natural ventilation and security

Designed by Clive Chapman, Pacific Environments NZ

From the architect:

The house is situated on a rear site on a street in Ponsonby. 

Originally the street was made up of small villas fronting the pavement, with rear sections being used for commercial purposes – the neighbouring site used to be an auto repair shop; and an adjacent site was occupied by an engineering company.

The historic nature of these rear sites meant the buildings would have commonly been tin sheds. 

Fitting with this aesthetic, the generic architectural form of the building is comprised of a pitched roof, vertical cladding, concrete base, and rusted steel details. 

Plus, the addition of multiple solar panels to the roof adds a further industrial element.

The homeowner was particular in their wish to leave materials exposed, and as natural as possible. 

The steel structural frame constructed within the external walls appears as a standalone element, with fixings and form accentuated by a black paint finish. 

In-situ poured concrete walls on the lower floor feature a board-impressed relief on both interior and exterior wall faces – the concrete is sealed but otherwise left with a rough finish. 

Polished concrete of the lower flooring, with water based clear finish, contrasts with the tactile nature of the walls. 

A 3.5m high stud ceiling with bespoke routed plywood panels, to aid acoustics, is a striking feature with a practical purpose.

The owner wanted connection to the original house, so the matai flooring was carefully lifted and recycled for the feature wall of kitchen cabinets within the new space.

The upper floor is timber framed with timber trusses used above the sleeping areas, to create more intimate spaces, while the sarked ceiling in the upstairs living area is supported by an exposed steel portal frame. 

This floor floor is in American White Oak, which matches through to the solid timber stair treads.

The concrete construction of the lower floor creates the thermal mass that, coupled with its north-western orientation, gives the performance the homeowner was looking for. 

The exterior walls also double as an outdoor cinema screen for the owners to host movie nights while the exterior cladding of the upper floor continues in the industrial theme with random depth and width vertical Canadian Cedar.

The building is designed to be naturally ventilated, with the whole of the lower floor able to be opened to the outside. 

A sliding screen allows specific shade where needed and is designed to be locked in position so that the inner glass panel can be left open securely. 

This biophilic connection to the outdoors continues through to the upper floor living area, with a dramatic timber ‘cage’ on the northern facade. 

The full-height windows can be left open all day, as the horizontal battens of the cage ensure security. 

Very high levels of insulation have been achieved to all timber framed walls.

The natural ventilation, thermal mass, ultra-low emission fireplace, and high levels of insulation have meant that though the house has heat pumps these have been rarely used by the owners since they moved in.

Credit list

Kitchen designer
Pacific Environments
Interior designer
Pacific Environments
Pool design/installation
Pace Pools
Dimond, corrugate
Window/door joinery
Architectural Series, by APL
Bedroom flooring
American White Oak T&G
Bathroom tiles
White, from Jacobsens; black, from Tile Warehouse
General heating
Ducted heat pump, from EES Energy Efficient Solutions
All from ECC except vintage black hanging fittings
Dining table/chairs
Architect-designed table; chairs, from Bo Concept
Aztec Builders
Kitchen manufacturer
R H Cabinetmakers
Natural Habitats
Western Red Cedar, by Hermpac – Wood-X finish, colour Foundry
Sliding louvre on main floor, by LouvreTec
Main floor
Polished concrete
Turkish, supplied by owner
Resene Snowdrift (white) to all walls and ceilings; Resene Nero (black) to all steel members
Woodsman Ferva Saturn, from West City Heating
Living area furniture
Couch, from Bo Concept; vintage Falcon chairs (mid '70s)
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended

Designed by: Pacific Environments NZ

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Barry Tobin

14 May, 2023

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