Madras St | ArchiPro CA

Corten homes

Wanting to build a relaxing home that would feel like a retreat away from the central city, the owners purchased this site in an established mixed use area of Christchurch Central. The design was to include two townhouses; one for the owners to live in and one to keep as an investment property. Both were to provide generous outdoor and interior living spaces, ample storage and four carparks, yet still be private from each other and the neighbours. As the property was to be a long term investment, durability, maintenance and energy efficiency had to be considered. The challenge was to fit all this on a small 300m site and tie in with the eclectic surrounding buildings.

The future of this building was an important consideration, so a foundation system was designed to allow the building to be removed, as well as being easily releveled after an earthquake. The building had to be adaptable through its life span, being easily modified into a four bedroom, two living, single dwelling or subdivided and sold individually. To further future proof the building, the health and comfort of the occupants was addressed with super-insulated airtight construction, heated through passive solar gain and ventilated with a combination of heat recovery technology and passive stack venting.

Initially taking inspiration from the high country huts the owners have an affinity for, the designer added in elements of ‘Christchurch School’ buildings due to the local context. The solution was to provide a building that, like a high country hut, would have a tough exterior and a warm and inviting interior. The theme that the building would wear in over time, not out, was applied to every decision made. Like both the owners’ and the designer’s personal style, every element of the building was to have a purpose and, like a hut, everything not essential was to be excluded.

To stay true to these themes, all design detailing was to be kept simple throughout. The use of a rain screen allowed all flashings to be hidden which gives the crisp lines of material junctions and disguises the scale of the building making all exterior spaces feel larger than they are. Good storage was provided internally as well as large hidden exterior sheds allowing all areas to be kept clutter free further increasing the feel of space. Interior detailing was kept consistent with fine black negative detailing throughout which is mimicked in the kitchen and bathrooms by the exposed black core of the compact laminate.

Privacy is maintained through careful positioning of windows and good acoustic detailing to reduce the feeling of living in an attached townhouse. The use of skylights instead of windows on the first floor allows privacy for the units, as well as all sightlines outwards are towards the sky, further promoting the feel of a secluded space in the Central City.

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