Waiatarua House in Auckland, New Zealand was developed by Hamish Monk Architecture on a provoking steep site. One of the design challenges was to insert a bold intervention into a sensitive bush reserve whilst still maintaining a sense of modesty. The owners of the retreat are a couple in their mid-sixties who wanted to get away from the hectic city life. By choosing a black timber exterior, the house appears to have a black and imposing silhouette, powerfully contrasting its lush green environment.

According to the architects the design of  Waiatarua House does not try to compete or mimic its surroundings. The overall volume of the house is carved to accommodate vertical circulation and a number of functional overlays: “From the point of entry the house offers a range of spatial experiences across the width of the floor-plate; transitioning from an almost subterranean position in the landscape to an elevated point perched amongst tree canopies. Rooms are served by, and branch out from a vertical circulation shaft that runs the full height of the house”. Enjoy the virtual tour! [Photography by Mark Smith]