This unique piece of land is steeped in joyful childhood memories, encouraging a design that connects to the past, while creating architecture that sits beautifully in the present.

Matapouri Road

Back to top

The need to anchor the house to the land and its family history generated the semicircular form that hunkers into the clifftop.

The house is a summer retreat from the city, allowing a casual lack of internal connection between living, sleeping and bathing spaces. The client wished to emulate a feeling of encampment in the layout, which encourages engagement with nature when moving from one space to another – you hear the birds, feel the sea breeze and see the stars.

Enlarge Images

The retreat is at home within the landscape. Establishing the correct position and level were key to ensuring the house felt secured in the site, not perched on the edge.

The design challenge was to engage with the dramatic clifftop setting, while also embedding the house within the site.

A built-in bench seat in the living area. The fireplace in the background is located in the courtyard between the living area and the bedrooms.
The interiors were designed using colour cues from the surrounding landscape. The custom designed dining table was built using totara gifted by the clients brother.
The curve brings rich interior detail into the ceiling, which is lined in Meranti ply with cider battens.
Plans for the home line the drawer in the tallboy designed for the main bedroom.

On a summer’s day, the roof shingles shimmer like fish scales, the cicadas outperform the kereru and tui, a Mediterranean-blue sea laps the black rocks at the cliff base and a hint of fresh brine drifts up on a breeze.