- Project Team: Stephen Smith, Natalie Snowden, Justin Turnbull
- Design Team: Natalie Snowden, Justin Turnbull
- Design Architect: Stephen Smith
- City: Te Hana
- Country: New Zealand
Text description provided by the architects. The clients brief was for a family holiday home located within their large farm property. The preferred site was on a ridge line with expansive rural views. The site is exposed to strong winds and has predominantly southern views.
The objective was to respond to the views while providing a sense of shelter from the elements. And a simple bold form was considered an appropriate response to the vast rural landscape.
The spaces are organized around a central courtyard which provides an outdoor living space oriented for afternoon sun. While the courtyard provides physical protection, visual connections to landscapes beyond have been created in all directions.
Alternative outdoor living spaces were located on the south and east sides of the house to allow for use at different times of the day and to suit the wind direction. From the inside the feeling of shelter is enhanced by deeply recessing the glazing line of all large openings into the building form creating large overhangs.
The site slopes away steeply on both sides of the ridge leaving a narrow strip to build on. Geotechnical constraints prevented any building load being placed near the top of the northern slope further restricting the building platform. The spatial programme was achieved within a small footprint by cantilevering some spaces out over the unstable ground.
The brief required the main living space to have a good volume. The site has a gentle slope in the direction of entry so we set a constant ceiling level and stepped the floors down through four levels. Starting with the entry space, being compressed, you circulate down around the periphery of the courtyard through a hierarchy of volumes that relates to the space function and plan size, ending with entry into the main living room.
The site was very challenging but with the clients ongoing commitment we feel that we have achieved their objectives totally with a simple and elegant built form.