Located in Christchurch, New Zealand the Redcliffs House is on the top of a bluff with a steep embankment. The road passes very close to the drop off and so MAP Architects designed the dwelling to expand outwards with pillars extending down and into the rock bluff below. While the majority of the site is steep and unusable, the home is spacious and comfortable offering the ideal indoor/outdoor experience complete with a large outdoor terrace above and a pool and deck below.
Even the road is steeply sloped causing the garage and foyer to be on two different levels on either end of the dwelling. With the close proximity of the street, the architects designed the home to have minimal exposure to it and incorporating a row of trees between the building and the street.
The garage is really a carport open on 3 sides with a roof overhang in the back created by the overhead terrace. By leaving the 3 sides open, the street side view is not lost when parking the car.
The entry to Redcliffs House is on the other end of the home. It is a closed and private space that even incorporates a privacy wall.
The entry opens up to a foyer that leads forward to the social zone or left down a long and wide hallway that the homeowner’s use as a gallery space to showcase their collection of art. High, clearstory windows keep the space bright without compromising the gallery space. The Hallway leads past an office, a bathroom and a Guest Bedroom down to the Master Suite at the end. It also leads to a stairwell to get to the pool level below.
Straight ahead from the foyer is the kitchen and then the dining area before finally reaching the living zone. The kitchen is completely white with the exception of the stainless steel appliances and the stacked tile backsplash. Other then the tiles, the only other warm tones are introduced through the furnishings. A long teak buffet runs the length of the wall behind the walnut stained dining table while the dining chairs offer a pale beige shade within their woven seats.
The teak buffet runs the complete length of the wall with a short break to accommodate the stainless steel fireplace. The contemporary fireplace box is designed to be furniture height for a continuous and seamless appeal while the tall flu stack creates a verticality that is in total contrast to the low and linear windows behind it. By hanging additional paintings from their collection above and beside the windows, the view becomes part of the vignette acknowledging that it too is art.
A wall of glazing between the dining and living zones opens up to the homeowner’s terrace where an outdoor dining area for 8 is ready to accommodate guests. The none stop views from the living room and terrace look out over both the hillside and the ocean for a varied and interesting dynamic.
The terrace continues along the back of the home offering access to first the office, then the Guest Bedroom and finally the Master Suite.
Each of the rooms are covered in glazings to make the most of the views.
The Master Bedroom is angled for additional privacy from the neighbours just up the hill and for this reason only long and narrow windows are featured on the end wall.
The windows on the Master Suite end wall are the same as those used on the end wall of the living room.
Between the office and the Guest Bedroom is a bathroom that features a wall of black mosaics for an ultra dramatic and modern moment. With no window to see the view, this room uses the contrast between black and white to create the visual appeal and incorporates a skylight above to let the natural light into the space.
Across the hall from the bathroom is the stairwell corridor. Here, a flight of concrete stairs leads down to the pool. The corridor is encased in glass giving the illusion of being outdoors.
The view from the pool says it all and with a large outdoor sectional located landside, the view can be enjoyed whether swimming or not.
The site plan showcases just how much outdoor living space this home actually has. It doubles the living space through the pool, pool deck and main floor terrace. The site plan also shows just how little of the site was available for a traditional building, but thanks to the creativity of MAP Architects, the Redcliffs House expands outwards irregardless of the steep terrain.
The plan of the first floor shows how little of the home is actually street level. Just the garage and a small room next to it.
The second floor is one level down has incorporates all the living zones of the dwelling, including the outdoor terrace.
Photography by Lisa Gane