Scarborough House

Scarborough House

Private Houses
Christchurch, New Zealand
Sarah Rowlands

Scarborough House

Borrmeister Architects as Architects

Located on a tiny steep hillside section, this modern family home has been designed to connect the openness of Sumner beach with the forested slope of Scarborough Hill.


The brief was for a relaxed playful home open to the sun, capturing the views to the beach and to the uphill park, whilst also providing shelter from the prevailing winds and incorporating easy driveway access and parking.


In order to tackle this extremely difficult site the house was designed around a strict 1.2m grid resulting in a very simple rectangular foot print, stretching over three levels.


The stone faced basement walls seem to grow out of the rockface anchoring the home firmly on the ground. The upper floors are designed to be light, sun filled and open, consisting mainly of glass facades behind cedar sliding screens, providing sun control, natural cross ventilation, cooling and privacy. The home is protected by a lightweight, sail-like roof ‘floating’ above the space on two tree-like timber and steel support structures.


On the top level is the open plan kitchen, dining and lounge area, a snug, small study and a toilet.


Three bedrooms, dressing, bathrooms, laundry and sauna are at the middle level, while a double garage with storage is in the basement.


Large decks connect the house with a swimming-pool, an outdoor shower, vege garden, ‘grand stand’ like seating area and the uphill council park.

The exterior materials include plaster, corrugated coloursteel and stone, which was sourced from the sites excavated rock. The exterior has been complimented by a simple internal material pallet of timber floors, light and dark walls with some playful wall-paper features.


Solar panels, rainwater retention tanks, automatic overhead louvers, an ultra-low emission logburner, high level windows, sliding screens, low maintenance materials and the warped roof, designed to follow the daily sun path, answered the clients wish for an environmentally conscious home.

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