Rising to the Challenge

Rising to the Challenge add

A beautiful family home, with ocean views, located in Wellington's Paekakariki took out the title of best Residential New Home between 150sqm-300sqm at the recent ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards. Designed by Ben Gilpin of Gil-Plans Architecture, the project is the perfect example of how a challenging and unique site can bring out the best in a designer.

With a site of only 100m x14m wide and with a steep undulating topography, the challenge was on Ben to create a four bedroom, modern, family home that also had a large open-plan living area with spaces that could easily be adapted for different uses. In addition, the complex site came with large protected pohutukawa trees which had to be retained.

So what did this site have going for it? How about a striking location parallel with the beach, sitting high above neighbouring properties with magnificent views of the ocean and Kapiti Island! And what about those pesky protected Pohutukawa trees? Well according to Ben, they became an asset and added a wonderful softness to the rugged site.

Designing the home around the vista, Ben created living areas which captured the incredible views of the ocean. The living room ceilings were raised for volume and the floor was dropped 500mm to define spaces and create some intimacy in the large open space.

The master bedroom and kids bedrooms were grouped together with the guest bedroom at the other end of the house for privacy.

Large verandahs were used on all North West facing areas to provide shade to the light filled spaces and to control overheating in summer.

To finish, Macrocarpa cladding, obtained from a local mill, in conjunction with crisp white coloured framing created a contemporary aesthetic.

ADNZ's judging panel said the modern, open-plan home, captured the picturesque seaside views and that Ben Gilpin made good use of the difficult site, without compromising the quality of the design.

Astrid Andersen, CEO of ADNZ, agreed.

"Ben has done of wonderful job on this difficult site. He really has risen to the challenge. Well done Ben."

For more information on Ben Gilpin visit: