Text description provided by the architects. The parti of S_House divides the long thin lot into two gardens, challenging the conventional diagram of the front and back yard of the typical suburban house. The house becomes the active space between the gardens, and offers the occupants multiple views and sectional level changes as they move through the site.
Designed for a family of five, the clients wanted a house that responded to the land’s topography. A 1920s stables to the rear of the site was to be restored into a studio. Located on the southern side of ProspectTerrace in Mt Eden, the 15m wide x 72m long rectangle slopes from the street downwards towards the rear boundary, set back 10m from the street.
S_House differs from the standard villa with a compact form and central circulation, with the elongated plan allowing for an extensive surface connection with the landscape. The activities of the house takes place across a singular spine corridor which expands and contracts spatially as the house mediates the site, creating the contradictory east native garden and the west exotic sculpted garden. The complementary gardens are connected by the children’s play area and bedrooms which occur at the turning point ‘knuckles’ of the plan, opening up to the two ‘parent’ gardens.
Stained cedar clads the exterior of the house, with a corrugated iron roof forming a continuous series of hips and valleys. The internal palette is black and white with a black oxide concrete floor and built in furniture. Excavated Basalt was used in garden retaining and planting plan. The intention of the street elevation was to create an outward looking, austere landscape with Ribbonwood and Kowhai trees that will grow to leave the architecture in a natural forestry setting. Robin Evan commented: “Ordinary things contain the deepest mystery.” The S_House was envisioned to reflect these values.