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]