Project Description

In 2013 we were approached to design a contemporary home on a steep bush-clad site in rural Cambridge NZ. Our brief was to design a home with open plan living for maximum solar gain and to capture the native NZ bush & Waikato farmlands.


Design Features

The home had to be designed to suit the steep contour of the land and carefully placed so that it would not disturb the fauna located around the site. The building also needed be positioned in a way that would gain maximum solar gain but give the home access to the incredible views of the surrounding native NZ bush & the Waikato farmlands.


During the site visit we noticed the natural gully sloping away from the building platform. This was a great opportunity to cantilever the master bedroom and living areas over the gully, allowing you to enter the tranquillity of the gully.  We noticed the lack of morning sun throughout the winter months. This was because of the landscape in the Maungakawa Scenic Reserve to the east of the site restricting the sun from shining through. To solve this problem, we designed the home to face Northeast, to cantilever the master bedroom and living areas out over the gully, as though you are floating amongst the gully.


The home comprises of butterfly slopping roof planes enveloped by plywood sheet cladding paired with areas of light. Masonry veneer cladding create harmony between these raw sustainable materials, connecting to the natural surrounds.


Entering the home, you are greeted with the harmony of plywood and masonry block. The steps down help sit the living area within the contours, and the 3.6m stud height allows all of the views and sun light to enter the home through the homes extensive glazing. This glazing allows for natural light to enter the home, providing light and warmth. However, during the summer months when the sun travels in a much higher arc the sunlight becomes blinding & unforgiving, with the addition of 2m roof overhangs, we have reduced the amount of sunlight that is able to enter the home.


Team Credits

Architecture: Daniel Cullen

Builders: Ben Shaw Builders

Photographer: Emma Steiner