Located in Auckland's suburb of Mount Eden, the 15 m wide and 72 m long rectangle slopes from the street downwards towards the rear boundary, with the house set back 10m from the street. S House differs from the standard villa with a compact form and central circulation due to its elongated plan which allows for an extensive surface connection with the landscape and sun penetration for a south facing section.
S House divides the long thin lot into two gardens, challenging the conventional diagram of the front and back yard of the typical suburban house. The house becomes the active space between the gardens, offering the occupants multiple views and sectional level changes as they move through the site. Designed for a family of five, the clients wanted a house that responded to the land's topography, with a connection to the garden and pool. Existing 1920s stables to the rear of the site were to be restored.
The activities of the house take place across a singular spine corridor which expands and contracts spatially as the house mediates the site, thus creating the contradictory east and west gardens. The east garden is predominantly native and rugged and the complementary west garden exotic and sculpted with a long dark pool, reflecting the parents' differing tastes. Connecting the gardens are the children's play area and bedrooms which occur at the turning point ‘knuckles' of the plan, opening up to the two ‘parent' gardens.
Stained cedar clads the exterior of the house, with a corrugated iron roof forming a continuous series of hips and valleys. The internal palette is black and white with a black oxide concrete floor. Excavated Basalt was used in the garden retaining and planting plan. The intention of the street elevation was to create an outward looking, austere landscape with Ribbonwood and Kowhai trees that will grow substantially to leave the architecture in a natural forestry setting.