Bossley Architects 5 Clifftops

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Pete Bossley, Finn Scott
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Directors
    Pete Bossley, Finn Scott
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Sidney Leong, Don McKenzie, Jacob Bowden

A house for a parent, four adult children and an expanding number of grandchildren to call their family base. They desired a large yet comfortable house, warm in winter, relaxed and able to accommodate a very significant collection of much-loved national and international artworks.

The family come and go, so there may be from one to six adults staying for significant periods. The clifftop eastern end of the house comprises living rooms with main bedroom above. The western end contains a two-bedroom wing with living areas above gymnasium, garage and office. Between the two wings is the fourth bedroom and an open two-storey link.

A partially enclosed central garden is a sun trap protected from prevailing winds. Sculptural forms of cream concrete, timber floors and ceilings, a bridge, a long slow stair, and other elements celebrate free flowing spaces and connections to the outside. Natural light reflects and animates the spaces.
The site has relatively narrow linear proportions, stretching from the right-of-way driveway out towards the sea and Rangitoto beyond. The eastern end drops dramatically down to the wave-worn volcanic rockforms.
The house is at the end of a private driveway that services 10 houses, so is secluded from the street. The linearity of the site is reinforced by the architecture, with planes of concrete wall running the full length of the house leading towards the sea, contrasted with playful sculptural forms that house the slow stair, deep windows, and fireplace.
The building was designed so as to not overlook adjacent houses or overshadow them.
The strong superstructure of the home is constructed in creamy white off form insitu concrete, insulated in instances where exterior wall meets interior and emanates a sense of permanence. The elements of concrete wall are complemented by sheets of marble stone rainscreen cladding, cedar weatherboards, GRC fascia panels, and glass. Interior ceilings are lined in cedar sarking, wrapped over gentle rolling curves in some instances. Walnut timber floors to main living areas and interior door joinery adds warmth to the spaces, with carpet and tiles to bedrooms and bathrooms. Gathered around the building are a series of terraces, exquisitely laid by terrazzo specialists with a selected volcanic aggregate that speaks to the basalt lava rock forms of the cliff and foreshore that fringe the site.

The large garage and gym spaces demanded a hardworking structural floor and ceiling construction above, which we designed closely with the structural engineers and specialist concrete contractor as an insitu waffle slab. This allowed for special lighting effects, with each softly curved waffle individually lit-allowing the warm walnut timber floored space below to transformed into a party space when required.
Careful consideration has been given to the significant collection of local and interior artworks. The brief from the client was that “he didn’t want to live in an art gallery” but rather “a home with a lot of art on the walls.”