Architect Craig South discusses how he worked with a client to create two elegant homes that both had access to sun, views and outdoor living.Words: Davina Richards
Located in a quiet cul-de-sac in urban Christchurch, the award-winning ‘Gleneagles Terrace’ is two large family homes that hug the Wairarapa Stream – which essentially defined the overall design concept. While there was a clear design direction, architect Craig South, of Cymon Allfrey Architects, says planning restrictions were difficult to overcome.
“The stream, although an amazing outlook, meant there was a high proportion of land not able to be built on. However, on the positive side of this was the space left behind; the resultant space with a stream boundary became the focal point. Raking ceilings in both dwellings meant the landscape was drawing you out into it. The stream outlook was always part of your day-to-day as you make your way through the home, with the kitchen as the focal point.”
From the street view, the home deceptively looks like one house, but find the right angle, and you’ll get a glimpse of the stream between the two homes – a clever outcome of thoughtful considerations in a unique landscape. “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 exterior displays a compelling expression of white plaster finish and vertical cedar cladding with a smattering of metal, creating an edgy and modern architectural shape of the two homes.
“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 have large living spaces thanks to the raked ceilings, which maximise the volume and allows natural light to reach greater depths. Complete with a garage, the ground floor contains the main living areas, intentionally placed along the northern edge to make the most of the view: the open-plan kitchen and dining room, guest bedroom with bathroom and two living rooms separated by sliding doors allowing the occupants to adapt the space whenever they needed to.
The upper floor has an additional four bedrooms, including one bathroom to share and a master bedroom with en suite and faces the stream. “Access to the private spaces on the first floor 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 home offers framed views of the stream which entices occupants and guests towards the landscape. The expansive outdoor areas gives the stream due prominence and are broken into smaller intimate spaces to provide a multitude of entertaining options.
Craig received the 2016 National Residential Multi-Unit Dwelling Resene Architectural Design Award for his design and judges commented that the design’s two parts constitute its compositional whole: “A unifying architectural vocabulary of common elements and details articulate an exemplar of high-end urban infill housing.”