On a hill outside of New Zealand’s notable city of Wellington, Parsonson Architects have recently finished a residential project that blends the beauty of living in the country with the convenience of living right on the edges of an urban space. The uniquely shaped Ostrich House sits atop a hill of its own and provides a comfortable escape for a young family.
Thanks to its place at the top of its own gentle roll, Ostrich House is afforded a panoramic view. This lets dwellers and guests see not just the city of Wellington in its entirety but also the countryside past and around it. The house sits about 15 minutes from the city limits, giving it all the convenience of urban spaces close by while still affording it the atmosphere of a retreat.
The unique appearance of the home’s exterior is partially practical because its sheltered nature over the entrance and courtyard helps provide protection against weathering. At the same time, it was a purposeful aesthetic choice designed to reflect the look of the home’s rugged hilltop landscape. The site itself was partially levelled by a previous owner so any prospective house could sit a little straighter and be afforded a better view.
On this straightened area, the house is positioned to face the best view from is levelled spot, but it was also strategically angled so that from a distance, the sloping roof form seems to complete the visual line of the hill sloping upwards. This angled covering also provides protection from occasionally harsh North Western winds, as well as Southern winds from Cook Straight below the slope.
On the inside of the house, the angled of this ceiling piece is mirrored in the shape of the interior, which makes the common living space feel dynamic and unique but also spacious. The ceiling is covered in Okoume plywood all the way from the tops of the walls to the wind and sun screens in high windows and skylights.
When it comes to layouts of the bedrooms, designers actually allotted parents and kids alike their own wings. These extend from the public common spaces, which open, thanks to sliding doors, out onto a central courtyard that features a deck and rolling lawns. Cedar cladding helps blend the indoor and outdoor spaces even further because the same wood continues onto the deck.
In addition to being efficient in the way the sloped roof protects the inner spaces of the house, its structures were also designed to be sustainable thanks to passive heating and cooling systems that control the temperature in the summer and winter alike. These systems are helped by pieces of exposed concrete floor and internal block walls, as well as double glazing in thermal window frames.
Like the exterior, the inside of the house is a unique and balanced blend of materials that reflect the landscape. Following wooden themed and slate grey colours on both accounts, the entire home thoroughly suits its surroundings. Where concrete and stained wood aren’t owning the aesthetic, black surfaces and details ground the scheme in a way that feels comfortable and warm.
Photos by Paul McCredie