Design Team: Jann Hurley, Elizabeth Cotter, Max Kostiuk Warren • Builders: Bevan Sarich • Engineers: Tilsley Engineering
The brief for Casa del Arbol was for a light and airy house, taking advantage of sea views. Touching lightly on the ground, with minimal earthworks, and retaining the site’s mature Pohutukawa, Puriri and Karaka trees was imperative. Casa Del Arbol sits up in the trees with an internal glazed corner opening directly to the pohutukawa tree.
The home is located along the southern boundary and orientated to face the north and east views while screening neighbours to south and west. The living room floor height was maximised, within the yard, daylight and access constraints, and the resultant height affords the occupants a level of detachment and privacy from the road.
In the design process the open box type idea evolved, with two pavilions flanking an open deck space. Glass at either end of the living pavilion and no internal walls provides views right through from the central deck out to the sea. A kink in living room pavilion orientates the eye toward the sea.
The clients are prolific entertainers, for whom sharing food and wine with friends is a big part of their lives. The kitchen needed to have plenty of space for numerous cooks to get stuck in and get involved, and also have easy access to the large central deck - the location of the future Asado - and the centrepiece of the preparation of culinary delights.
The east facing deck creates a tranquil retreat, a more intimate space for smaller dinner parties, or a spot to just sit and watch the world go by. The lower deck spills out from the downstairs spaces with a more intimate connection to the garden. Numerous options for outdoor living make the home feel it can expand and contract as required. Whatever the weather, there’s a spot to sit sheltered from the wind.
Downstairs, a bunkroom for teenagers and adjacent flexible space provides a quiet hang out area, and overflow accommodation. Laundry, powder room and storage under the stairs complete the programme, while an outdoor shower on the deck provides convenience on return from the beach.
Height to boundary constraints dictated how far west the bedroom pavilion could sit, and has created an ideal area for vegetable gardens and fruit trees.