Meyrick - Mark Frazerhurst Architects | ArchiPro


Situated in a cul-de-sac in the inner Auckland suburb of Meadowbank - an area known for its predominantly flat land sandwiched between the Orakei Basin and the slopes of St Johns—this site sits at the highest point of the suburb. 

When architect Mark Frazerhurst originally visited the site, he was immediately struck by the haphazard connections that had been forged over the years between an original 1950s structure and various ad hoc additions and extensions over the following decades.

The initial brief was to renovate the existing form but after a brief period of consideration it became clear that both from a budgetary and planning point of view, there was little sense in retaining the existing structure.

Starting with a blank canvas then, Mark decided to pull the new house much closer to the street frontage, leaving significant free space at the rear of the 875m2 property for future subdivision. 

“The brief called for a contemporary family home incorporating three bedrooms and two living areas if possible,” Mark says. 

As the design emerged, it became possible to incorporate further elements in a relatively small footprint, something Mark explains is a key part of considering space in the most efficient way possible to design houses of quality not quantity.

From the street, the house gives little away. The site sits on a gentle convex curve, so together with the subtle concave nature of the front facade, an enclosing courtyard entry is created. 

“A key part of this facade was to create a sense of privacy and that was realised in the layering effect we created with both materials and forms that morph landscape and architecture together,” Mark explains.

Block walls that form the front of the garaging extend further out to the west to create a semi-private entry and areas of landscaping, which are accessed via a gap in the imposing solidity of the staggered-height walls. “These heavy block walls become anchoring elements of the larger form.”

Behind and above the walls, the lower level of the two-storeyed house is clad in black Shadowclad, a type of textured plywood. An overhanging form sits atop in a lighter, both visually and physically, white tone. 

“From the early stages, this top ‘box’ was conceived around the idea of containment or shrouding. The fluted batons at different angles appear almost as if a piece of fabric had been dropped over the form from a height and created these flutes, almost like curtains,” Mark says.

The layering and juxtaposition of form and material create a sense of privacy and mystique, while the angles move convexly out to the shape of the perimeter and vertically along the ridgeline to reflect the slight undulation of the site.

“There are quite a few materials working in conjunction with one another here that come together as a cohesive whole,” Mark says. Together, the different textures, angles, colours and finishes, while a monochromatic palette, are ever changing as light and shadow accentuates different elements. 

Inside, the stairwell forms the centre of the home, working as a shear core bracing element in conjunction with a masonry wall. The core has, in turn, been clad in fibre cement panels that feature negative detailing laid in an irregular brick-like pattern to tie in with the bagged concrete block landscaping walls that anchor the exterior of the building in its environs.

Black steel fins and Birch ply stairs combine to create an interesting central feature with a floated concrete floor beneath that runs the extent of the lower level. 

In the kitchen, matte black surfaces preside and are used in conjunction with white and timber grain, the central theme throughout the home—both inside and out. An adjacent living area opens onto the private, rear backyard, whose central space is atop a concrete slab met on either side by timber decking that runs the length of this long, narrow house. 

Downstairs is also home to the second and third bedrooms, while the upstairs area creates a private haven for the master bedroom, ensuite and a second living area. 

A fourth bedroom is located in a loft space above the garage, where a home office is also cleverly incorporated. 

“This home is long and narrow, running east to west to make the most of the site and to utilise every available internal space to challenge the notion that bigger is better. We believe in quality over quantity and the spatial configuration and utilisation within this home questions and eliminates unnecessary areas where possible, to deliver a family home apparently bigger than the sum of its parts.”

Photography by Samantha Donaldson Photography 

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Block walls that front the garage extend out to the west to create a semi-private entrance area.
A translucent panel forms the side of the garage, designed so the internal garage lighting can double as entrance area lighting. 
The form of the house follows the slight curve of the site while the ridgeline is angled to accentuate the slight undulations of the land. 
The form and detailing of the upper level explores the notion of 'shroud' in which to contain and protect, while at the same time directing internal vistas towards the North-West and Cityscape
Here, black and white are contrasted in a variety of materials that enhance the textural elements of this monochromatic exterior palette.
Fluted batons at different angles appear almost as if a piece of fabric had been dropped over the form from a height and created these flutes, almost like curtains
The main living area opens onto the private, rear backyard, whose central space is atop a concrete slab met on either side by timber decking that runs the length of this long, narrow house
A floated concrete floor, black steel fins and a timber stair continue the material palette of the exterior. 
Matte black and timber are the central features in the kitchen, creating a consistent aesthetic in line with the other areas of the home. 
Here, a range of materials converge to create an interesting space of differing textures. 
Fibre cement sheet with negative detailing conceal a shear wall. 
The stairwell forms the centre of the house, with black steel fins and Birch ply stairs. 
The 'shroud' or top level of the house is illuminated at night, with shadows cast from the surrounding trees to highlight the unique textural form. 
Imposing and private, the streetfront facade offers a level of intrigue giving little of the interiors away. 
A translucent panel allows for the entrance area to be illuminated at night by the internal garage lighting. 
The main outdoor area is located at the rear of the home where a significant grassed area provides ample room for the family to relax and entertain.