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Cook Strait House by Tennent + Brown Architects

By Holly von Huene


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New Zealand-based architectural firm Tennent + Brown Architects has created the Cook Strait House.

Completed in 2012, this 4,316 square foot contemporary home sits atop a cliff in Wellington, New Zealand.

Cook Strait House by Tennent + Brown Architects:

“The site sits on the edge of a 45m cliff facing south over Taputeranga Island in Island Bay, with magnificent views of the harbour entrance, Cook Strait and the South Island Kaikouras. Most of the site is a cliff face and afforded only a small area of buildable land at the top. The clients desired a large family home that responded to the dramatic views, that was spacious, low maintenance and able to accommodate their large collection of NZ paintings and ceramics. The exposed location and Wellingtons climate had the clients seeking a warm well lit house, with the ability for the client to be able to sit in the sun at different hours of the day.

The building form was inspired by the cliff top maritime location; a composition of angular blocks with a channel cut through allowing light and views to penetrate the two storey volume, in the manner of a lantern and inspired by channels in coastal rocks below the site. At night the void lights up as a light tower at the top of the cliff.

Zinc was selected as cladding for its low maintenance, durability and weathertightness in the face of extreme salt laden winds from the south. The interior joinery was seen as driftwood elements captured within the spaces. The carpet colour reflects the colour of the vegetation on the island and the tiles the colours found in the seaweed on the shore overlooked by the house.”

Photos by: Paul McCredie

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About Holly von Huene

Holly is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She has written for HomeDSGN for more than 3 years and contributed architecture, interior design and lifestyle content for a number of other publications, including DesignBoom, Apartment Therapy and ArchDaily. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

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