Lake Rotokauri House

Outside the Box

Rotokauri, Hamilton

Set amid rolling Waikato countryside, this house responds to its surroundings in an extraordinary way.  Overlooking a lake, the house sits in front of a steep hillside, which provides the bold two-storey with privacy from its neighbours. Designed for a professional couple and their children, the brief was for an environment where the family could enjoy a more relaxed rural lifestyle, and where they can also entertain.

Completed 2006

Set against the vista of Hamilton’s Lake Rotokauri and wetlands, this is a sculptural and colourful home for people whose lives span between business in Auckland and family life in the Waikato. The house reflects the nature of the site, the owner’s brief for the way they live, relax and entertain, and the displaying of a lifetime of acquired art.

The owners conceived the family living space as a central ‘umbrella’ for the entire house. From that, the concept of a lightwell atrium connecting spaces on two levels developed. The soaring double-height space incorporates an array of light-catching devices. Clerestory windows - as partially recessed cubes in the timber ceiling - reflects the warm glow of the first morning sun into the family space.

The house tackles the requirements of an art collection setting, both in the architecture’s own active spatial moves and gestures, and in providing alcoves, walls, ledges and courtyards for artworks to settle. The building itself is a rich assemblage of concrete block, white aerated concrete, polished timber, mosaic tiles, and coloured perspex sheet.

The Rotokauri House is a meshing of form, material and patterns; pathways, journeys and conversation places; and a relaxed lifestyle within a rich construction and a laid-back, lakeside setting.


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