Project: Mt Pleasant Home
Architects: Cymon Allfrey Architects
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Area: 3,229 sq ft
Photographs by: Stephen Goodenough
Mt Pleasant Home by Cymon Allfrey Architects
Cymon Allfrey Architects have designed the Mt Pleasant Home on top of a hill in Christchurch, New Zealand. This modern home spans across 3,200 square feet, offering breathtaking views that are really one of its key features.
The main aspect of this design was finding a way to make the residence offer a sense of enjoyment from the interior while maximizing the beautiful views of its surroundings. On the outside, there are plenty of terraced areas with wooden floors that simply invite you to enjoy the wonderful views that the site provides.
This home is sited in a semi-rural environment, high on a spur of Christchurch’s Port Hills featuring panoramic views from the Southern Alps to the west, through the Kaikoura Range to the north, to Scarborough to the east. Our brief was to create a modern family home that considered the harsh, wind-swept environment. We were to capture the dramatic vast views and provide the diversity of planning to create sheltered courtyards for outdoor living in most conditions.
Architecturally there was a desire to let the home cascade down the hill allowing most rooms direct access to the gardens and to anchor the home to the ground.Twin pavilions create two primary living terraces on the hill. A central link is rotated to disrupt the order of the home and to aid in achieving a better north-west aspect to the lower pavilion and a widened view from the rear pavilion. A third pavilion is placed above the home containing utility spaces and providing a bulk of building to protect from the strong southerly winter storms.
During the design process, the concept was conceived that the roof could lie on the hill like a leaf on a flat surface (a juxtaposition between a geometrically flat surface and the organic ‘flat’ surface of a leaf). A single pitch roof was placed over the two pavilions and in critical places, edges of the building are chamfered which along with the rotation of the lower pavilion form a dynamic parapet line and variation in internal volume.
The program of the home is organized around a central gallery space with transverse corridors and living spaces placed akin to the relationship between the mid-rib and vein of a leaf. Formal and informal living spaces are grouped to allow a strong connection between the family unit (the typical occupant). Interconnecting doors allow a degree of separation to be achieved where necessary. Sleeping spaces are placed in the higher living pavilion providing for acoustic separation to the general living rooms.
Three main exterior courts are placed adjacent to living rooms to allow one to move with the tracking of the sun and to offer some protection from the prevailing easterly breeze or the less frequent (but more severe) north-westerly and southerly winds. Externally the home is clad in a random width, vertical cedar board. This along with the muted grey, low reflectivity palate have been selected, anchor the home to the site and to the rural context.