Ridge Road House
A little north of Auckland on the Hibiscus Coast is a wee slice of kiwi paradise. Wing beats and warbles are the only sounds you hear as Tui and Fantail flit through the bush, sheltered from the light rain showers by ancient Pohutukawas that tower over the regenerating natives at ground level. This place seems a world away from the hustle and noise of New Zealand's biggest city... yet there it is on the horizon - only a stone's throw from the front door. What a place to establish a truly kiwi-flavoured family home!
This house is to be a long term vision: today's design needs to factor in many days and years to come, in respect of both the ongoing operational costs to the family and the whole-of-life impact on the environment. A slightly greater capital outlay will be offset by the consequent quality of construction detailing and increased building performance - with the house providing real-time feedback for iterative improvement.
Building a brand new home on a green field site inherently has a significant impact on the environment. The clients were are well aware of the impact residential homes have on both the energy consumption and carbon footprint of New Zealand and so together with sustainability consultant Evident Connect we developed a set rigorous set of goals to minimsie the impact of this home on the environment.
Performance and energy efficiency were a major design driver but alongside this the clients had very strong spatial and aesthetic requirements which influenced the design of the home. The design brief called for a modern, boxy geometry with clean lines, dark timber and light surfaces. The outcome is a form based on two offset, horizontal roof planes that spanned the length of the building and cantilevered towards the east. By breaking up the form in this manor and cutting the basement level into the ground, the three storied house is designed to appear low in perspective in the landscape. The cantilevered roof planes achieve the aesthetic desire of the home whilst at the same time providing adequate shading required for a high performance home.
The homes planning has been customised for the family living. A secluded ‘bush walk’ entry leads guests down from the road, under the Pohutukawa trees into a dedicated entry. At the heart of this home, on the ground floor is a large open plan kitchen, orientated to capture the sun and connect to the outdoors. A large sliding door opens onto the expansive deck and grass lawn big enough for the family rugby game. Upstairs three large bedrooms cleverly designed to make the most of the sun and views. Downstairs and cut into the hillside is the inventors workshop which functions as a work space and office and houses all of the technologies that make this house run.
This house is currently on the drawing board and construction is planned to begin at the end of 2015.