Tiltpanel House / Irving Smith Jack Architects

© Patrick Reynolds

Architects: Irving Smith Jack Architects Ltd.
Location: , New Zealand
Completed: 2008
Area: 239 sqm
Photographs: Patrick Reynolds

© Patrick Reynolds

This family home sits within a new suburban subdivision, bordered by a forest reserve and overlooking Nelson’s Tasman Bay.

Conceived to provide a durable, cost efficient and thermally sustainable house solution for a young and creative family, the Tiltpanel House was developed using a commercial approach to fabricating buildings with preformed insulated concrete panels. The industrial structure was then domesticated with applied layering of texture and light to soften and warm as a family home.

With the site sloping, a rational rectilinear form with two storey perimeter cantilevered concrete panels, separated by full height glazed openings, minimized the complexity and cost of the concrete panel formation, ultimately achieving space for a raised level garden.

© Patrick Reynolds

A metal cladding cap cants against the hill and orientates the house towards the level garden and view. A controlled movement path between garden and living areas allows external extension of downstairs spaces, and then circulates behind upper level bedrooms to provide views, culminating in an intimate window seat to the bush edge.

The weight of the concrete perimeter is softened and de-scaled with layers of light and texture applied internally and externally against the smooth sanded concrete walls. Varying glazing opacities pattern and articulate light and view while hung western cedar screening overprints and manipulates shadow. Internally plywood ceilings and joinery then provide natural texture and warmth, with flat finished sheet linings contrasting the imperfection of the concrete.


Unconventional domestic construction with efficient rectilinear form and simple concrete panel detailing has generated a viable and cost efficient house. But the applied layering and overprinting of materials and formed gardens, pattern and soften this building to a family home and suggest new ways in which concrete can be used in residential design.

Tiltpanel House received commendation from the New Zealand Concrete Society “given in recognition of a residential building of outstanding achievement in the advancement of concrete practice in design, construction, rehabilitation or research.”

Cite: "Tiltpanel House / Irving Smith Jack Architects" 02 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=230796>