Pivot House

Pivot House

Architect
Borrmeister Architects
Project Year
2020
Category
Housing

Pivot House

Borrmeister Architects as Architects

After retiring from a large Marlborough vineyard home our clients decided to scale down as they transitioned to urban living on a small inner-city section.

The clients brief called for a comfortable, ‘easy to live in’, timeless design that would capture the sun and maintain a strong connection to the outdoor spaces and greenery but also to consciously fit in with its surrounding neighbours and the wider Blenheim neighbourhood context.

To achieve this a near flat-roofed contemporary, carefully considered ‘broken up’ dwelling was created, featuring a simple palette of natural low-maintenance materials, finishes (cedar, concrete block, fibre cement boards) and extensive outdoor living spaces.

In order to create a relaxed mood, outdoor living was paramount. Despite the very tight inner-city site the house has been designed to seamlessly interconnect with it’s surroundings, with the Kitchen as the ‘heart’ of the home and the pivot point for three courtyards. On the east side is the ‘Morning Terrace’ flanked by the Kitchen, Study, Entrance and a well-stocked veggie garden. To the north is the main courtyard which can be accessed from the Kitchen, Day Room, Lounge and Dining. The ‘Afternoon Deck’ is located on the western side of the home and can be reached via the Dining, Lounge and Main Bedroom. 

These three courtyards offer not just protected outdoor living areas all year-round but also visual interest, architectural surprises, view shafts and general connections with the thoughtfully landscaped garden surroundings.

A double garage, laundry and several storage areas are also located on the ground floor.

The upper-level features two guest bedrooms, a play area for the grandchildren and the family bathroom. In order not to dominate the lower level and the neighbouring houses - this level has been designed to appear to be a ‘floating pavilion’ with its light colour and cedar sunscreens within a skeletal steel structure.

Cedar screens and pergolas on all sides of the house where introduced, providing additional shade and creating visual continuity between the indoor and outdoor living areas.

Ultimately the house is designed to be a relaxed and easy place to live year-round, so that the homeowners feel as if they are always on holiday.

 

Sustainability statement: 

The thought-out economical footprint avoids unnecessary circulation areas and other wasted space despite it’s ‘broken-up’ nature.

The footprint with its multiple courtyards on three sides supports natural cross ventilation, solar gain and protection from the prevailing winds. In addition to this a void from the Kitchen at the ground floor to the first level encourages natural stack type ventilation of the house.

Solar / photovoltaic panels, rainwater retention tanks for garden irrigation, high levels of insulation, thermally broken window and door joinery with high performance glass, cedar pergolas, cedar fixed and sliding screens, high level windows, low maintenance materials, calculated roof overhangs, designed to follow the daily sun path, as well as space for a well-stocked veggie garden and numerous fruit trees answered the clients wish for an environmentally friendly home.

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