Urban House

Simon Devitt

On a sloped site with a width of 10.5 metres that doglegs between two Freeman Bay streets, the client envisioned a modern house with a pool for herself and three sons.

The main street frontage was conceived as a folding of form to adopt the facade lines of the two disparate neighbouring architectural typologies. The fold facilitates a pedestrian entry into the house. The entry lands in a circle of water. The living area is broken into public and private space by a mirrored service core housing a bar, a bathroom and the stair leading to the main bedroom.

The pool courtyard was developed as a pivot to rotate the axis along the secondary leg of the site. The far end of the pool court provides a seating area to view the city whilst functioning as the roof of the children’s wing. Access to this wing runs down along side the pool courtyard. As these rooms are on a gradient at the lower end of the site, a level lawn area was constructed for them to play.

This house was conceived as a sculptural insertion within a existing urban context. Elements of the neigbouring houses were acknowledged and appropriated, including the gutter height of the bungalow and the frontage lines of both houses. The gable roof forms were assimilated but inverted in the entry stair. We play with the traditional villa construct of the ‘front room’ that is public to the street, while other areas of the house are carefully screened to limit neighbourly intrusion.

New Zealand Architecture | 2007

Urbis – Issue 31

Related articles

Lake Pupuke House

“Slid into a tight suburban site, this house, approached through a restricted and somewhat unpromising entry sequence, expands from the front door into a series of most agreeable domestic spaces. A free plan connects a series of carefully modelled rooms to the view and the

Waitamariki House

A house on a prominent hill is sunk into the ground with stone retaining walls. Services are underground with a grass roof. Living areas are nestled into the slope in copper-roofed pavilions that open out to the view. Awards: Auckland Architecture Award (Housing) 2015

Parnell House

“It may be luxurious, eclectic, even glitzy, but there is no duplicity or deceit. Only an overriding confidence, clarity and openness of spirit…..a house whose airy opulence combines purity with luxury – cool surface, clean detailing and an abundance of pure, unadulterated space – in