One of the most satisfying outcomes of a project for any architect is a happy client, and there’s no better testament to that than when they return to ask for another home. Such was the case for co-director of Strachan Group Architects (SGA) Pat de Pont when designing this dwelling in the Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland suburb of Hobsonville.
As Pat’s clients were moving into retirement, they were keen to create a new, future-proofed base that afforded them greater accessibility, liveability and sustainability in the next stage of their lives.
Their plot of land is L-shaped, so the plan carved off the existing backyard for the new build, though retaining green space was integral to the avid gardeners’ brief. “It was important to locate the home in a way that created pockets of garden,” says architectural graduate Mikyla Greaney, who worked alongside Pat on the project.
The journey into the house guides you from the long driveway, up concrete steps set amid curls of groundcover, past native shrubs tucked in against the cedar cladding and into the ‘garden room’. The cedar continues in from the exterior and in tandem with the large format tiles on the floor allows you to slip from garden room to terrace or kitchen to outdoor room without a level change or shift in materials. This gives the home a pleasing ambiguity that’s emphasised by Metro Series ThermalHEART doors and windows, enhancing the feeling of being simultaneously indoors and out, while insulating to keep the home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
The vagueness of boundaries between the interior and exterior is purposeful at this address and lets the owners do what they please with ease. “The way we treat windows and doors is that we strive to make the obvious things as passive as possible,” says Pat. “We don’t like to rely on a lot of mechanical trickery — if we can naturally ventilate, light and heat a house, that’s always the starting point. Careful placement of windows and doors and protection from the sun — those things are critical to a good design, particularly from a sustainability point of view”.
“If you can make a house that’s as useful for someone in their 80s as it is for someone in their teens, you’ve got a house that’ll have longevity. Having happy clients is basically why we do this — that’s my take on it anyway!”
As seen in Homestyle Magazine. Words by Alice Lines.