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Tall Dark and Handsome 4 Split Level Home in Auckland

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Access to this unassumingly handsome building is from above. A long and winding path meanders through a dense thicket of native trees and foliage. Located in Auckland, New Zealand the Blackpool House is a composition of high ceilings and 4 split levels for a total of 872sqft of contemporary living. Glamuzina Paterson Architects received a brief from their clients to create a home that would be one with the tree canopies while at the same time nestling into the steep topography of the site. The footprint of the home was kept small and staggered with the public zones on the two lower levels and the private zones on the upper two. A singular and continuous volume was created in the landscape with the use of black metal cladding for the facade and aluminum joinery for the apertures.

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When arriving at the home at the bottom of a the long flight of stairs, the visitor gets a chance to catch their breathe on this beautiful deck that overlooks the tree canopies and into the valley below. The pause on the deck before entering the interior volume is a way to truly appreciate the natural setting.

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The entry deck is not the only outdoor space for enjoying the views. Just around the corner and off of the living room is a short flight of stairs down to another large outdoor deck enveloped in the lush vegetation the site has to offer.

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The Lower 2 levels of the home encompass the public volumes, while the upper two levels consist of a library mezzanine, bedroom and bathroom. The footprint of the lower levels is 47m2 while the upper 2 are 34m2. The roof form, shifting floor plates and deck all follow the contours of the land with the staggered north-west wall reaching over the rocky land formation just below it.

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The entry to the home is just off of the kitchen and dining level.

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The kitchen and dining level is a functional set up with the kitchen wrapping the non-view wall and the retro arboretum table set taking full advantage of the views. Simple pine plywood sheathing finished with a clear coat, covers the ceiling and bright white subway tiles wrap the kitchen walls. The flooring is a recycled totara and is used throughout the home.

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Just past the dining room and 900mm down, is the double height volume of the living room. This transition from an intimate height to a vast volume of space creates an accentuation of the verticality of the home itself.

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The finish of the living room ceiling emphasizes the double height aspect with the use of dark stained Meranti ply and black rafters. This graphic repeat pattern is in direct contrast to the simplicity of the pine ceiling used in the dining / kitchen zones. Adding to the volume of the living room is the large 8′ glass doorway that leads out to a second deck creating an indoor / outdoor connection.

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The deck off of the living zone is accessed by a short flight of stairs that continue past the deck and down into the steep slope below. The lush foliage is a magical place to spend a hot summers day.

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From the living room deck, there is a direct line of site to the entry deck.

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On those days that outdoor living is passed over for a comfortable afternoon indoors, a large library spans both the living room and the mezzanine, two level above.

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With many of the shelves on the lower section kept for display, the bulk of the reading material is located on the 3rd level mezzanine – or library. This double height shelving creates a dramatic statement that is interrupted by the library’s pony wall of white. While the living space is double height and volumous, the addition of the mezzanine pushing into the zone keeps the room feeling cozy and warm.

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Access to the mezzanine level is via a flight of stairs tucked in behind the library.

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the mezzanine incorporates a window seat for the ultimate reading experience.

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A short flight of stairs continues past the mezzanine and up to the bedroom.

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The bedroom takes on a more rustic cabin atmosphere with the use of reclaimed boards on the wall and a pair of trophy antlers mounted above the bed.

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The two lower levels create a concise and functional layout that conforms to the site irregularities they nestle on.

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The mezzanine creates a perfect transition zone from public to private volumes.

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Glamuzina Paterson Architects where able to design Blackpool House to make the most of the site by designing spaces that occupied a small footprint which then expanded both upwards and slightly outwards. This was partially done by using the south wall as a defensive wall that anchored the building into the site.

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Looking at the site plan you realize the magnitude of the property – and the difficulties of constructing a home on the slope.

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Notwithstanding the difficulties presented by the location, Blackpool House is a well thought out and functional space that works with – rather then against – the lush landscape it nestles into. Its hard to believe this was all achieved on a modest budget.
Glamuzina Paterson Architects

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