May Residence - Imagine Architecture | ArchiPro NZ

A site with complex contours and a brief for a large multilevel home for an owner/builder was the starting point for this project. The client’s requirements were for a home with 3 large bedrooms, a large office for his building business, large airy living areas and generous outdoor living space. The desire was for a tall and dramatic entry with attention to detail in the finish which would enable the owner to demonstrate his building skills to his clientele.

The form of the house was developed from the need notion of sculpting the house to the land rather than sculpting the land to the house. This was done by creating spaces around the contours and balancing any excavation with landscaping that would connect the house well with its environment. The house features high levels of specification with architectural series window joinery, extensive timber joinery and detailing, exposed steelwork and glass balustrading.

Key to the success of the design was the provision for ample entertaining space both internally and externally. This requirement is exemplified by the well-appointed outdoor kitchen which includes BBQ, sink, fridge and dishwasher in a stainless steel topped island. In contrast to the entertaining/social aspect of the home the master retreat on the upper level is the ultimate hideaway. It is spacious and self-contained complete with a kitchenette, large en-suite with bath and generous dressing room. A lift connects all four levels ensuring total accessibility.  Relationships between spaces was critical with private and public spaces separated yet accessible.

A spur in the contour of the site provided a strong aspect for siting the main living spaces with its orientation to the sun, lake and native bush views. The layered roof planes were designed to float over the structure providing drama and protection. Large cantilevers are evident on the living room roof and are matched by the deck below. Approaching from the road above demanded special attention to keeping the membrane roof form clean with simple falls and minimal complex junctions ensuring an elegant aesthetic.

The entrance is connected to the exterior via a macrocarpa sleeper board walk with galvanised steel cantilevered pergola frames. The adjacent carport provides covered guest parking. The entry foyer with its 6m ceiling provides many vantage points giving numerous site lines within the home as well as to the outdoor vistas. Mid stair landing provides a connection to the living room with its 4.8m and 3m ceilings.  The large areas of glazing have been offset with wide roof overhangs with the sun angles being carefully calculated in a low-tech, passive solar design approach of harnessing and managing the sun’s energy, storing it through a highly insulated envelope. To cool the house excellent cross-flow ventilation enhanced by the stack effect of the living and entrance atrium which have motorised high level opening windows.  Heating is by a gas fire and ducted air source heat pump. The large basement garage provides generous workshop space, laundry and bathroom ensuring a practical base for the client’s business.

Colours & Materials:

  • Wall Cladding:   Western Red Cedar Weatherboard, Plaster render over AAC panel
  • Roofing:   Enviroclad TPO Membrane
  • Ceiling panelling:   Western Red Cedar
  • Timber Floor:   Sustainable Akwa hardwoord planks
  • Kitchen:   Lacquered cabinetry and Caeaserstone tops
  • Decking:   Vitex
  • Lighting:   LED
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