Wow is the word that comes to mind on first sight of this awesome Auckland, New Zealand house design by Bossley Architects. A stone wall separates the house from the street, while at the other end of the site, a cliff overlooks serene vistas of views of Browns Island and Karaka Bay. While this odd but beautiful site is certainly a draw, the house itself is somewhat of a local landmark, its front clad in a signature wood panel shell – a traditional material employed in a contemporary way. But facing the bay, a glass facade invites the views in.
“The form of this house has been determined by the constraints of the site,” explain the architects. “The house is sited in Glendowie between a natural edge created by the steep bush-clad cliff that rolls down to Karaka Bay and the sinuous road that the house fronts onto. The kink in the road outside the house is reflected in the boundary and the front yard setback line for the house. In order to maximize the site the house has been built right up to this front yard setback line and also reinforces the kink.”
The house is clad in a veil of dark-stained cedar panels running horizontally across the facade, adding visual interest while obscuring interiors from street view.
Like its facade, interiors are also influenced by this bold exterior design, reflected through the copious windows, like contemporary art, framed and hanging on display. From the architects, “An open-riser timber and steel stair winds up through a triple-height space from the garage level to the main living level and then on up to another two levels. Your view of the stair is filtered through layers of a stainless steel mesh screen hanging from the ceiling between the stairs and a dark stained timber screen.”
While the street side of the house is obscured with wood, the bay-side is open, offering unobstructed views of water and nature.
Even the bathroom boasts a clerestory window, letting natural light flow into this dark, dramatic space, featuring dark slate tiles, wall-to-wall mirror, rich red backsplash, and an invisible glass shower.
The home’s public areas have a cool, contemporary edge. Minimalist living spaces are decorated with contemporary style furniture that proves less really is more,
These modern spaces are warmed up with rich wood floors, and sunlight pouring in through floor to ceiling glass. A modern fireplace at one end, and a kitchen at the other of this open concept plan makes this a perfect entertaining area.
And to top it off, the sliding glass walls open to the outdoors, inviting life to spill out into the garden.
At first sight this house appears quite closed off, but it’s an armor that wants to be explored. Offering privacy from public view, and visual interest to passersby.
But from another angle, your experience of this douse does a complete 180, with movable walls, terraces, balconies, and glazing that lets the outdoors in, even when all doors and windows are closed.
Photo credit: Simon Devitt