Riverside House - Three Sixty Architecture | ArchiPro

Riverside house is an elegant and sculptural family haven located on a generous yet highly constrained site that is bounded by two major arterial routes and has, as its southern boundary, the Avon River.

The challenge, says Rob Bosma, Director of Three Sixty Architecture, was to fit a large family home into a tight building envelope.

“The site, at 1150m2, is fairly ample for a suburban lot, however it is constrained by a 15-metre setback from the river, which effectively cuts the site in half. When our clients bought the site it came with like-for-like resource consent and a footprint established by an original 1950s-era house that had occupied the site prior to the earthquakes. This afforded us some leeway with the design.”

Rob says that embracing the riverside setting while retaining privacy from the busy intersection was a primary concern of the clients and of the project brief.

“Our response was to design a simple, uncluttered composition of stacked forms interlinked and cut open to expose the interior spaces to the adjacent river and park views beyond. The ground floor contains the kitchen, dining and living areas, as well as a guest suite and garaging. The upper floor contains bedrooms and a media room.”

Large sliding glass doors on the southern facade provide access to a small riverside terrace, while similar doors on the northern facade open onto a large courtyard, which is shielded from the street by the house itself. These wall-to-wall apertures serve to dissolve the boundary between interior and exterior spaces and also create sightlines from the courtyard to the river and beyond to the park.

“The river’s southerly position to the site, coupled with the busy intersection, is at odds with the preferred siting of the outdoor living spaces. By creating this high level of transparency on the ground floor, we have been able to provide coveted north-facing outdoor living while still maintaining a high level of connection to the view.

“This sense of amenity has been further reinforced through the seamless use of floor tiling and wall finishes employed continuously between interior and exterior spaces. The materiality is sophisticated and elegant—burnished concrete render, stone flooring and dark timbers—delivering a rich and tactile experience,” says Rob.

“We came up with the initial concept for the interior, with the living areas designed to be restrained and minimal without feeling stark or sterile. We then collaborated with Lume Design who further developed the interior design scheme, which fully delivers on that initial brief, with spaces that are breathtakingly simple and highly textural.”

The design responds to privacy by incorporating a textured mix of screening devices—from dark vertical louvres along the southern and northern facades, to softer interior draping intended to shroud and conceal the interior environment without losing the occupant’s relationship to the river and park beyond. Filtered light and shadow, created by the first-floor louvres, results in a collection of calm and ordered spaces that respond to the tempo of the day and season and set the mood for multiple ways of living.

“This is a building that celebrates its location and complements the existing site context and surrounding landscape, yet still provides a comfortable retreat away from a very busy urban environment.”

Photography by Simon Devitt

Words by Justin Foote.

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Located on a busy corner site on the fringe of Hagley Park, this house needed to embrace its riverside location while providing a high level of privacy for its owners.
A series of interlinked, stacked forms creates a protected courtyard as well as a series of interconnected internal spaces.
Subtle separation of forms allows the upper level to float freely over the lower—an elegant detail that gives a lightness to the powerful western elevation.
As a nod to the clients' request for a insitu concrete house, which, unfortunately, due to ground conditions was not possible, the exterior has been finished in a burnished concrete render.
The site came with a 14-metre setback from the river, however, resource consent for a like-for-like rebuild meant the new house was able to inhabit most of the original footprint of the previous 1950s-era home.
Filtered light and shadow, created by the first-floor louvres, results in a collection of calm and ordered spaces, which respond to the tempo of the day and season.
Bold geometric forms reflect the minimalist intent of the design scheme.
The pared-back material palette serves to reinforce the sense of the house being a stronghold against the encroaching urban environment.
The kitchen is carefully detailed with the functional cooking area concealed in a separate annex, allowing the occupants to enjoy the primary space without clutter.
As with the exterior, the interior features a simplified palette of stone and timber.
Bold lines and dark tones impart a masculine feel, which is tempered by the richly textured materials.
Located in a separate space, the working heart of the kitchen is removed from the living areas.
The boundary between indoors and out has been blurred through the seamless use of materials, which creates a smoothly continuous flow from the main living area to the courtyard and separate garden pavilion containing the swimming pool, spa and a change ro
The ground floor comprises a series of open and inter-connected living areas, which, while the look is restrained and minimal, do not feel stark or sterile.
Almost wall-to-wall glazing on the upper level serves to connect the master suite to the river and park beyond.
Vertical louvres provide privacy from the exterior while allowing for clear sight lines from within the house.
The floor-to-ceiling window allows for ample natural light to penetrate into this ensuite bathroom. A retractable blind provides privacy as needed.
The pool house was a late addition to the design but adds another level of functionality to the house.
A small terrace, accessed from the main living area helps to connect the built environment with the natural one.
The riverside setting was the determining factor in the owners' decision to purchase the site.
Architect Rob Bosma says the house: "...is a building that celebrates its location and complements the existing site context."