Proudly Unique

The word “Gezellig” is Dutch and somewhat hard to translate; it means convivial, social, cosy and fun. It can apply to a gathering or to a couple. It was something the clients, Yvonne and Phil, asked for in their brief to architect Craig South … and the house delivers in spades.

Located in the genteel Christchurch suburb of Fendalton with a beautiful outlook towards a stream, a water feature to the rear, and surrounded by established gardens, the house shatters all architectural expectations.

It stands unique and proud in the history of New Zealand architecture because there is nothing else quite like it anywhere in the country.

“It was,” says Craig, “a really fun project to be involved in. Having the idea of curves was an amazing turn of events, and one that was perfect. It gave me the opportunity to be a bit more creative. We worked with fantastic, open-minded clients, a strong consultant and construction team, to deliver such an amazing product and the friendships it created.”

The home’s core structure consists of three square concrete pavilions containing the living, sleeping and utility spaces. These are provided with generous glazing and are staggered, permitting continuity with the landscaping, and uninterrupted views where there is always a new angle for the eye and sunlight throughout the day.

“Glimpses,” Craig explains. “As you make your way to the entry, and through the home, there are sight lines to give occupants a glimpse of the exterior landscape. The home captures the sun at various times of the day, enjoying long vistas to the landscape. Sheltered from the sun and rain, the courtyard gives the ability to sit outside in different weather.”

Although the house appears imposing at 406 square metres, the interior volumes are very much on a human scale and domestically proportioned. There is an airy open plan kitchen enlivened in marble that flows into a warm, spacious and inviting living area. Everything about these spaces speaks of timeless, unaffected elegance, gracious entertaining and casual home comforts.

With a clearly defined hierarchy of public and private spaces, if you feel like something more intimate, the house’s curves create more private, low-ceiling nooks for conversation and contemplation.

A subtle delineation between the bedrooms and the rest of the house’s more public areas is achieved by way of the staircase, which curves around the faceted wall, tapering as it rises; and by a sudden, calculated drop in ceiling height.

It’s not really a house that requires much explanation – the plan layout and design make it an intuitive structure to move through. For a house that is so exceptional on the outside, the interior speaks of reassuring welcome, a place for friends and family. “There is a clear line between spaces that welcome guests and areas that don’t,” says Craig. “Areas beyond the doubleheight volumed space are more private. The ceiling treatment and shape changes dramatically at this point, to give occupants this indication.

To read the rest of this article and to find out more about other projects from award winning ADNZ members, buy your copy of Defign. Defign is available at Countdown, Super Value, Fresh Choice, New World, Pak n Save, Paper Plus, Whitcoulls and more. Pick up your copy today!