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Tai Tapu House by AW Architects

AW Architects designed this stunning 340 m2 private residence located in Tai Tapu, New Zealand, in 2018. Take a look at the complete story after the jump.

From the architects: The Tai Tapu house is situated on a west facing hill on the lower slopes of the port hills, about 5kms out of Tai Tapu. The site is within the Outstanding Natural Landscape zone and was subject to a rigors resource consent process in regards to its visual impact.

The house is sited to stretch contour to contour in a north-south direction, with the main aspect facing west. The building is nestled into the land, bunkering in allowing the prevailing easterly wind to roll over the top of the house. Landscape walls grow from the contours to create the lower garage and driveway level, with the main form over. Upper-level landscape walls create a shelter external courtyard as protection from the north-west wind.


The material palette emphasizes the sculptural form – a slick black wedge of Swiss Pearl expressed panels, with has areas of relief cut into it in monolithic white. The retaining walls are treated in a monolithic natural plaster rising out of the landscape. Timber decking and flooring brings warmth to the material palette. The landscaping is purposefully raw, with little planting. As the natural grass grows back it will be basically managed to allow the house to seat into the environment.

The house is planned to create a sense of arrival at the ground floor level, with the practicality of a mudroom and coats store with seating provided for amenity. The stairs are orientated to offer the dramatic west view as you rise to the first floor. On the first floor, a corridor extends down the eastern wall – with bedrooms to the south and opening to the north with open plan kitchen/ dining & living. The house forms frame views to the south (from master bedroom) and west (from dining living).

Photography by Marc Scowen

Find more projects by AW Architects:

Mirage Gstaad – Mirror House by Doug Aitken

The UK’s Best Zero-Carbon House: Balsall Heath, Birmingham