The design of this two bedroom home largely focused on mitigating the key challenges of the site – privacy, and its proximity to both the Wellington Faultline and the Wellington Urban Motorway.

With its northern aspect facing directly onto a busy corner, achieving privacy while still allowing light into the home was a key balance to strike. Stepped block walls around the northern perimeter were used create a private courtyard and garden. When inside the walls, surrounded by greenery, the experience is that of complete privacy and sanctuary.

To achieve a high earthquake rating we worked closely with engineer Jared Sullivan to design a bespoke suspended foundation system. This consisted of Prolam timber piles concreted into deep augured footings, with bolted connections to Prolam bearers.

This design means that the home would withstand a 1 in 2,500 year seismic event – the same rating as Te Papa.

The building’s floating form with open subfloor provides easier access to the underside of the building to allow for repairs and maintenance over time. The foundation design also provides a lightweight aesthetic to the building’s form, touching the gently sloping ground on the east, and floating up off the ground on western corner.

With a busy intersection and motorway in close proximity, soundproofing was a high priority. The entire house is wrapped in an Ecoply rigid air barrier, with a further ply layer over drained cavity providing a solid fixing and support substrate, for the Zinc cladding. This, along with double-glazing and high-level insulation, ensure that noise pollution is minimal.

Standing Seam Zinc was selected for both the wall cladding and roofing, as an ideal material to form a continuous hard outer shell, shielding the building from its intense urban environment. Incisions into the outer skin expose the soft texture of the vertical cedar cladding in the sheltered areas.

A modest footprint (allowing for design within the district plan rules, negating any requirement for a resource consent) still allows a feeling of generosity with space and light, balanced with privacy requirements from the busy street corner.

This home was built by Matthew Palmer Construction and photographed by Andre Vroon. For more detail see the owner’s website.