Blessed with the best of both worlds - the rugged hallmarks of a semi-rural environment perched high above Christchurch on Christchurch's Port Hills, with a locale that affords all of the conveniences of modern living including proximity to amenities - the property lies gently on the hill like a leaf on a flat surface to anchor the home to the ground. Panoramic views offer a visual dynamism that is truly unique.
It has all of the personality one would expect of an award-winning property, but without the pretension that generally goes hand-in-hand with such high quality. Clad in a random-width, vertical cedar board and featuring a muted grey, low reflectivity palate, the home stays true to its surroundings and rural context.
A beautiful and considered response to the climate, the dwelling doesn't shy away from its harsh, wind-swept environment. Instead, it embraces this reality, and was designed in a way that enabled the creation of sheltered courtyards so outdoor living could be enjoyed in most conditions and is accessible from most rooms.
A single pitch roof spans across twin pavilions which create two primary living terraces on the hill. In critical places, edges of the building are chamfered and this design, in tandem with the rotation of the lower pavilion, achieves a dynamic parallel line and a variation in internal volume.
Organised around a central gallery space with transverse corridors, formal and informal living spaces are grouped in a way that fosters a strong connection between the family unit while interconnecting doors create separation and afford privacy where needed. Sun chasers are in their absolute element with three main exterior courts placed adjacent to living rooms, enabling dwellers to move with the tracking of the sun.
Sleeping spaces reside in the higher living pavilion which enables acoustic separation from the general living environments. The third pavilion, placed above the home, serves a utilitarian purpose hosting practical spaces. This pavilion also fulfils an important role in protecting the home from strong southerly winter storms.
Of their decision to bestow the property with a national honour the judges said: "We appreciated the high level of discipline presented by the project. From the placement of windows, to the restrained material palette, to the manner in which the building is grounded by and in its landscape. This is a slick treatment of a spectacular site that draws together a familiar kit of parts and details in a highly controlled manner."