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July 27, 2021

“Situated on the slopes of the Orakei Basin in central Auckland, the site—which lies at the end of nearly a half-kilometre of challenging driveway that winds around another 12 properties and sits on the steep slope of a volcanic crater—had every difficulty you could imagine but it is spectacular, sheltered and central,” says Architect Wendy Shacklock.

While the site threw every difficulty at her, Wendy says the project benefitted from a quite specific client brief in terms of functionality but complete openness in terms of form and materials. However, the client wanted to achieve a flat lawn with swimming pool sitting flush with the living areas of the house on what is almost a one-in-three slope beneath a cliff. There was to be a study, media room and three bedrooms, with the main bedroom being on a mezzanine.

Most importantly, it must look like a house, not an apartment building.

“After consultation with engineers a judicious level was struck for the main floor, cutting minimally into the cliff on the one hand and retaining and lifting the downhill boundary to create a level platform.

“Entry to the site is from the south-western corner, five metres below the main floor level. The garage is further cut in with internal access to the double-height entry stairwell. The resultant section follows the natural contours with minimal manipulation in the overall scale of the cliff.”

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