ORAKEI BASIN HOUSE / Auckland

ORAKEI BASIN HOUSE
 
Auckland
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Built on a steep site of 860 square metres on the edge of the Orakei Basin, the house is zoned horizontally to maximise connections to the site, with horizontal terracing to provide some flat outside living areas. On the top level are entry, garage, study and main bedroom with ensuite. Below is the kitchen, dining area and main living space with a separate lounge. The upper and middle level are visually connected by a double-height steel-framed loggia which wraps around two sides of the house under the main roof. Children’s bedrooms, bathrooms and TV room are on the bottom level. 

The clients had expressed a desire for solidity, a liking for raw concrete and a “linear, boxy feel with glass”. Building into the hill allowed for privacy with rooms facing away from the street towards the view over the water. The house is essentially a series of boxes that relate to a series of blade walls across the site. These boxes offer different relationships to the walls – either behind, abutting or projecting, thereby creating a series of different spatial relationships with the site from solid and enclosed to exposed and projecting. Spaces are linked by a main concrete spine wall with a textured and bagged surface over offset block work. This texture provides a linking element within the project: occupants can locate themselves throughout the house against this textured wall, which also connects the interior with the exterior. 

Other transitional elements between indoor and outdoor include the pig-mesh flooring linking the courtyard to the balcony, wire-mesh balustrades on the balcony and repeated on the staircase, and concrete pavers used both in the courtyard and on the upstairs floor. The exterior materials include a combination of bagged masonry and solid-plaster blade walls, an exposed steel frame and anodised aluminium joinery. Internal rooms are softened by carpet and timber.

The overall aesthetic of the house is clean, uncluttered and contemporary, with contrasting “boxy” elements of solid and transparent. The horizontality of the scheme is emphasised by the penetrating spine walls, the horizontal zoning, and the flat roof with crisp overhanging eaves.