Living on the Landing
Only a short stroll from Ngaio village centre, the setting for this house is a bush-clad slope that steps steeply down to a stream that trickles along the northern boundary. The architectural design was inspired by the site’s dramatic gradient, as well as a desire to enjoy the wild qualities of the forested section from every point in the plan.
Descending from the parking platform at road level, suburbia is quickly left behind. Bathed in sunshine, surrounded by native flora and fauna, an ‘epic’ journey from street to stream begins.
The distinctive element of the house is its stepping series of landings that snake from outside to inside and back again, reinforcing the horizontal connection between the interior and the exterior surroundings, and connecting the split levels of the home along the north façade. These landings do not act as circulation space alone but rather as discrete places to live; to study; to sit, relax and brush up on local ornithology… opening up views across the valley, down through the levels and - ultimately - providing the house with its unique, playful identity. Cleverly combined with a multi-split plan, a lofty feeling of space much greater than the home’s actual 130 square metres is created.
Down a flight of exterior stairs at the end of a wooden bridge, the front door awaits. Traverse the heady drop, enter the house and enjoy a sunny coffee on the kitchen window seat. Mingle in the open plan kitchen/dining space and, wine in hand, lean out over the treetops as the sun sets behind the hills of Ngaio. Or on a hot summer’s day relax in the tranquil double-height living room that hovers within the tree canopy.
Downstairs at upper-bedroom level, the boardwalk expands to include an outdoor entertainment area complete with kitchen, dining facilities and spa bath, before continuing on to the master wing at the bottom of the site. Here, a small study and reading room is perfectly positioned for peaceful contemplation.
An extension of this meditative space brings you to the end of the journey: to the lovers’ jetty, cantilevered over the babbling brook and dappled in gold-green light…