No. 289 . 31 May 2006 
ArchitectureWeek
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Down Under Houses

by Robyn Beaver

Contemporary residences by Australian and New Zealand architects share several common themes, most notably a sense of environmental stewardship and a desire to blend with the surrounding landscape, whether it's a historic urban street or a protected coastline. These architects favor indoor/outdoor rooms and often zone houses into pavilions. "Green" features abound, including natural ventilation, use of natural materials, photovoltaic panels, and rainwater collection systems. And often, the location itself is spectacular and framed in views from the interior. — Editor

As one example, the Seresin House, by Pete Bossley Architects, encompasses a house, guest house, shed, and boatshed in Waterfall Bay, part of the Marlborough Sounds, at the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand. The site for the house is adjacent to a jetty, tucked onto a narrow sliver of land between the sea and the rising hills behind.

It was important that existing trees be maintained, which meant that that lower levels had to be cut into the bank to reduce the impact of the overall form. Arrival to the site is normally by sea to the jetty, so the double-height glazed stair space reflects the axis of the arrival sequence, while the entry path zigzags off the axis and then returns.   >>>

This article is excerpted from 100 Top Houses from Down Under by Robyn Beaver, with permission of the publisher, Images Publishing.

 

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