The owners of this property, a busy professional couple whose adult children have left home, found this steeply sloping corner section on the Cambridge town centre fringe; one of very few greenfield sites left in the CBD. They saw the advantages of this CBD edge site; being close to the Cambridge cafes, library, shops and supermarket – all within easy walking. Owing to its position at an entrance to the town centre, the house is in some ways like a citadel gatehouse, and in other ways it is simply a quiet townhouse in a private setting of green. The site is tiny, and the 5.0 metre street-front setbacks mean that the house is tight up against all the building setbacks.
The house has a curved brick facade set against the street as an acoustic and privacy shield, and orientates itself instead on surrounding garden areas and the magnificent views of Sanatorium Hill in the distance. Capturing this view from the upstairs living area and bedroom, and the ground floor bedrooms is a key part of the design. The NZIA award judges cited the relaxed ambience and good connection to the landscape. The raised elevation of the house gains much privacy all around, with a courtyard on the west walled to create secluded outdoor dining. The house is designed so that the courtyard can - at a later time – be converted to become a second sun-catching living room.
Demonstrating PAUA’s collaborative design approach, at the client’s suggestion a discreet fold down bed was incorporated into the downstairs room used mostly as a home office, helping keep the award-winning home’s building footprint economical while maximising flexibility and utility. In turn, after initially discarding the suggestion, the clients warmed to the idea of a gently curved ‘bagged brick’ wall around the kitchen and dining area as the main elevation to the street. This is now one of the features that gives their home that something special; the uneven brick wall creating a play of dappled light and shadow as the sunlight moves through the day.
The key intents of the house are to provide an easy townhouse lifestyle with privacy, a sense of a permanent, crafted, structure with connection to the land and town, an architecture that responds to the sweep of the adjacent streets and the neighbouring architecture, and lastly, one that makes the most of the leafy setting and the views beyond. The construction was completed by Stewart Hanna Ltd, a Hamilton based contractor, who have constructed a number of projects designed by PAUA Architects.
NZIA Waikato Bay of Plenty Architecture Award 2015 - Housing
“This CBD-edge, Cambridge townhouse makes the most of its compact site. The textured, white-painted brick exterior has been arranged to offer privacy against the adjacent street to the north, while focussing instead on the glimpses of trees and magnificent distant views to the east. The relaxed ambiance and good connections to the landscape are a testament to the collaborative working relationship between architect, interior designer and landscape designer.”