ST HELIERS BAY HOUSE / Auckland

ST HELIERS BAY HOUSE
 
Auckland
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The house is set on a gently sloping site that is surrounded by existing houses to the east, west and south. The elevated site provides sweeping northern views over St Heliers to the Waitemata harbour beyond. 

The form of the building was generated to fully exploit the site’s slope and northern aspect, while the judicious selection of materials and careful composition of vertical and horizontal elements breaks up the volume of the building, avoiding any sense of bulk.

Entry is through a hanging Corten-steel entry canopy, leading to a gallery spine. A series of courtyards permeate the scheme, with low-level windows from the gallery providing a spatial connection to the courtyards and indirect light into the gallery while maintaining the privacy of the spaces. The media room opens into the front court, which is bounded by garden walls and the entry canopy. Three of the four bedrooms also open onto private courts.

A three-storey cast-in-situ concrete stairwell wall leads to the upper levels. Vertical timber battens filter light and permit visual connections to the spaces beyond. The second level contains the main family, kitchen and dining areas with a separate living room and bedroom. These living areas face out to the sea views; the dining and kitchen area also opens out onto a rear courtyard with an in-ground swimming pool and terrace.

The main bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, dressing room and separate study is located on the third level. Above this an exterior roof terrace is accessed via a roof hatch to maximise the 360-degree views.

The materials palette is contemporary yet naturalistic: a mix of timber, Corten steel, zinc and glass. Finishes of materials are natural blacks, browns and light greys, offset by the red of the Corten steel. The white interior is softened by the warmth of the Australian blackwood timber joinery and American oak floor, which contrasts with the raw finish of the in-situ concrete.