Reef House

Photography: Simon Devitt


The Reef House brief was for a family holiday home for a Mum, her three adult sons and their eventual families. The site has extensive sea views from the northeast to the south and overlooks the rocky beach break of Daniels Reef. The outlook was to hero Little Barrier Island and to provide scope to display carefully curated artworks. Our client desired a selection of interesting textures to complement the art and environment. Spaces designed needed to be able to cater for a myriad of coastal activities; fishing, cooking, surfing, parking for cars and boats, a fish sink and a smoke house. A guest suite, spa pool and a variety of outdoor spaces were also requested, all to fit a relatively small footprint.

The plan is a split cruciform providing axial views and cross ventilation in both directions. In section, breaking the form into a twin roof pavilion allows for good floor to floor heights and volume shifts in the upper floor spaces. The main upper floor plates are offset and arranged to direct views out to the sea from the entrance and living areas. The kitchen extrudes to the north on to layered and screened outdoor living spaces.

Perhaps unusually, SGA was also called on to mentor and guide the clients two builder sons through a on their first building project since starting their own company.

The project is a testament to the strength of collaboration between client, architect, landscape architect and builder and good reason for the client (Mum) to be happy and proud.

NZIA Awards Jury Citation: “The Reef House brief was for a family home for a mother and her three adult sons and their anticipated families. The site has extensive sea views, and the cruciform plan provides axial views and cross-ventilation, as well as a signature SGA ‘climate adjusting’ space, a low-tech, high yield means for equalising temperature and humidity. Effectively an outdoor area, this space, with its three enclosed walls giving shelter to selected planting, captures the cross-ventilated winds and mitigates humidity over the peak of summer. The house is a series of carefully planned indoor and outdoor articulated rooms, each having well-placed windows to capture different vistas as well as offering wall space for the client’s extensive art collection. Special mention should go to the clients’s two sons who were builders on the project, and recently registered Architect Hana Scott who led the project admirably on site.”

NZIA Local Award Winner – 2020 – Housing
Best Awards Finalist – 2020 – Residential Architecture
Trends International Design Awards Highly Commended – 2020 – NZ Architect Designed Home

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