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The Armstrong House

After living next to this site for a number of years my clients were keen to take advantage of the spectacular north and westerly views that it provided.

The site is particularly narrow, steep, under-size in respect to total area relative to the town plan critical standard and had a history of underlying instability and drainage problems.

Their brief was for a contemporary three level hill side house that maximised the outdoor vistas.

They also required a large basement garage, bedrooms on the next level and living on the upper level. The decision to install a lift was made from the outset and is a common sense affordable option for three level hill houses generally.

Given the narrowness of the site a rectangular form for the house naturally evolved with spaces looking to the views.

3.0m plus floor to floor level changes helped to provide elevation to capture the views.

The house was also placed as far forward on the site as possible because the further back the position, the more the back and sides would tend to be below adjoining ground. Notwithstanding, rear and side retaining walls are up to 5.0m in height in some locations.

Seven resource consents were obtained relating to street scene setback and height and recession plane controls. In spite of this there is not a sense of overbuilding or lack of context with neighbouring properties.

The construction of the house includes timber framing, concrete floors, solid filed concrete block and JH Titan panel.

Solar powered water heating and the contribution of thermal mass assist in respect to building sustainability.

Design features

  • A desire to future proof meant that an internal lift was the obvious option
  • Solar water heating
  • Use of green tinted low E double glazed window glass to reduce ultra violet light and increase insulation
  • Solid filled concrete for thermal mass
  • Maximising of the site potential