Two family homes make the most of a beautiful outlook towards Wairarapa Stream in urban Christchurch. Each home consists of plastered half gables rising up toward the centre, encapsulating the softer material palette of the rich natural cedar, which is running through the centre and out towards the stream.
Both homes provide multiple living spaces to suit their individual family dynamics, with strong links to the landscaped outdoor courtyards overlooking a meandering waterway at the rear. Guest accommodation is situated on the ground level of each home with private spaces located on the first floor.
Access to private spaces is via a unique stair in each dwelling. Each a focal point when migrating from the entrance through to the living spaces. One with a wine-rack within its undercroft, the other with a subtle randomness of tread, creating a small study nook under the landing.
The outdoor spaces are broken into smaller intimate spaces giving a multitude of entertaining options. This teamed up with the internal living spaces forms the strong connection with the stream.
What were the key challenges?
We were approached by two families who had purchased a spectacular site together and wanted to build two homes, unique to each family’s needs. Their stunning site is located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in a low-density residential zone, with a narrow street frontage opening out to a wide North-East facing boundary following the edge of a stream. This gave a great opportunity for both homes to have a stream outlook, but also removed a large portion of the site due to planning restrictions along this edge.
What were the solutions?
The design was focused on the stream. As both families sought a similar outcome, the design solution was to create two elongated dwellings, each positioned to push their outdoor courtyards towards the stream.
A solid plastered gable form was seemingly cut and stretched out toward each boundary, exposing an inner layer of vertical cedar weatherboard. What could have been a single building was then split to entice a glimpse to the natural waterway via a narrow separation.
The dwellings are slightly offset, giving each home the ability to receive an abundance of natural light without compromising privacy to the living and private spaces. The introduction of raking ceilings to both levels maximised the volume whilst giving a greater ability for light to penetrate the depths of various spaces. This accentuates the connection with the natural landscape beyond. The living spaces, separated by sliding doors, allow each space to be adapted to suit the occasion, both having access to the expansive outdoor living area.