Smith House

Smith House

John Pardey Architects
Christchurch, New Zealand
Project Year
Private Houses

Smith House

John Pardey Architects as Architects

The site is a standard suburban plot replacing a 1950’s house, one street back from Friars Cliff beach, near Christchurch. The client’s design brief was for a retirement house that could be comfortably occupied at ground level, but can then expand when family arrive to stay by the use of first floor bedrooms.

They further wanted to have open living spaces that had south light, while also addressing the garden lying to the north.

We began with the idea of creating a ‘courtyard’ plan that allowed an open plan living space to straddle the site, roughly aligning with the rearmost neighbouring building. A single storey building facing the street wraps a contained courtyard – front and rear are then connected by a service wing to the eastern side – this arrangement opens up the house to the sun and creates a calm central court that catches the sun.

The lower volume is clad in an insulated external acrylic render system to pick up on the seaside vocabulary of ‘white’ buildings, while the upper volume is clad in western red cedar boarding. The overall impression is intended to be that of a low white base, with a lighter, floating ‘box’ set back from the road. The roof is sedum covered to add to the ecology of the site and provide a visual amenity as seen from upstairs rooms.

The upper volume overhangs to the southern courtyard to provide solar shading to living spaces and also cantilevers to the west, to create a dynamic element, released from a simple support and also has large glazed areas onto south facing bedrooms, held within a wrapping timber clad ‘sleeve’. To the garden facade, the upper floor has a more reticent facade with low glazing onto a corridor serving bedrooms while one bedroom to the east, discretely faces the garden. A large brick chimney anchors the building to the site.

The house employs concealed roof-mounted photovoltaic panels that generate power to offset demands and the building fabric is highly insulated to achieve very high ‘U’ values. All glazing is argon-filled double-glazed units in thermally broken frames.

More photos of this project, taken by Andy Matthews, can be seen here on our flickr.

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