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The brief was to create a modern townhouse that was sophisticated yet simple with a strong relationship to its setting between the river and the street. The building was to be minimalist with no redundancy; a house that provides space for individual activities while celebrating the changing light and aspect of the place.

The concept was influenced by the river with thoughts of floating, reflection, tributary, bridge and transparency.

The design deliberately plays to the north south aspects of the site and is based on the concept of a strong spine wall that defines this axis. The concept provides clear living pavilions north and south on the western side of the spine. To the east are utility and storage spaces. A double height entry atrium provides access to the upper level spaces. Considered overhangs and upper storey Redwood louvers moderate the solar gain. The steel structural columns are located outside the glazing line of the pavilions.

The selected materials of concrete, steel, wood and glass have been used with simplicity and honesty. To the south exposed concrete terraces hover with seamless transition from the house to the river bank. Rock retaining with access to the river was constructed including the planting of established trees to enhance this inner city bird corridor. To the north a fine paling fence over an elevated lawn defines the public and private spaces while maintaining a connection to the street.

The environmental performance of the house has been well considered. Water heating is provided by a geothermal sourced heat pump system. The mass of the concrete spine wall and floor store heat while controlled openings allow for moderation of temperature.




NZIA Nelson Marlborough Branch Award 2012  •  Residential Award