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Glamuzina Architects

Matiatia

Waiheke Island, Auckland

This house is sited at the crest of a hill on a large rural site which faces north towards Rangitoto Island. A protected ridgeline forms a natural bowl surrounding a flat platform, which then descends to Matiatia to the north, and Church bay to the south. The site is devoid of any significant trees, and is essentially a grassed lot; a hangover from its rural beginnings.

The clients are a couple looking to return to Waiheke Island to live. This site provides a prominent position from which to survey their old childhood farm which used to encompass the entire bay at Matiatia. From this position views open up to the Coromandel in the east, and back towards Auckland city, providing a distant link to the urban centre. Two competing systems form a strategy with which the house is able to negotiate the complexities inherent in the site.

The site itself is incised to form a platform from which the house is to be anchored to the site. This new topography becomes a process of restructuring of solid and void in order to achieve a composite geography. Soil that is removed is to be utilised in a continuation of the natural bowl at the Southern edge of the site. This constructed ground is tied together with a concrete base, which is articulated to form dividing lines for programmatic requirements of entry and protected enclosure. This restructuring of ground provides a new dynamic entity with which to understand and survey the site and its surroundings.

Above the ground plane, a volume hovers tentatively over the competing topography, shifting impulsively towards distant views. This copper box defines a void below, within which the main living spaces are formed. Several trajectories are mapped onto the surface and interior of the form creating apertures to allow the occupant selective views to important landmarks, redefining and relocating them in their landscape.

"If the 'landscape' can be understood as 'endless', then it is a pretty serious and inexhaustible matter to be examined. If 'nature' can be compared with 'freedom', then it is possible to consider a multitude of explorations. Place is not an ineluctable force of nature, sometimes to make a new place, it is necessary to redefine place."

Winy Maas