Jose Gutierrez Ltd 19 Lucerne House

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    José Gutiérrez
  • Client
    Ben Willis

The client sought to construct a new home for their growing family on a sloping, tapering site on the side of a suburban valley. The site provides pleasant views out towards the suburban cityscape below and the gradient formed the basis of the design for the residence. The client’s appreciation for elegant design and modern architecture meant they were open to creating something special that both stood apart from yet complemented the traditional aesthetic of the neighbourhood.

The design for the home focused on the creation of a sculptural form, which when viewed from the street, challenges the perception of a traditional street-facing residential facade. The delineated box is wrapped in its entirety with a vertical screen and has the appearance of a closed-off form without windows and evokes curiosity.

The entrance to the home sits below street level beneath the floating box-form. Upon entering the home the internal experience completely transforms the exterior perception of the building. Light is carefully controlled to create and define spaces. The insertion of a 16 metre long skylight slices through the spine of the home, drawing in warm, natural-light even on gloomy winter days.
The lower levels composed of concrete anchor the building into the hillside and follow the sloping gradient of the site, leading out to a courtyard and further stepping down to a seemingly cantilevered pool area with views of the urban cityscape beyond. The forms for the building are elegantly stacked, being a carefully composed balance between the large family’s need for rooms and spaces, while maintaining a defined, sculptural feel.

The materials selected consistently feature throughout the home, but serve different functions at the front and rear. For the front façade the materials are celebrated as abstract forms for privacy, whereas at the rear they create openness and define spaces. Light and the way it is controlled and harnessed throughout the spaces at different times of day forms the essence of the home, bringing life and movement to the interior. In contrast, at nightfall the reverse occurs, the lantern-like features of the boxes come to life at dusk, emitting a warm glow against the night sky.
The cedar battens are toned with a warm off-white paint finish. The warmth of the coating is evident with the changing light, at sunset the cedar takes on a warmer hue, contrasting it’s brightness on sunny days. The interior palette is intentionally neutral so as not to overwhelm the texture and coolness of the concrete as it sits against warm timber accents as seen in the centre stairwell. Subtle tones are used throughout the home, evoking feelings of comfort and calm, while drawing attention to the beautiful austerity of concrete and how it compares and contrasts with the lightness of the cedar battens.