Cymon Allfrey Architects design two family homes that make the most of a beautiful outlook towards Wairarapa Stream in urban Christchurch

Cymon Allfrey Architects design two family homes that make the most of a beautiful outlook towards Wairarapa Stream in urban Christchurch

Architects: Cymon Allfrey Architects
Location: Gleneagles Terrace, Ilam, Christchurch, New Zealand
Year: 2015
Area: 6.082 ft²/ 565 m²
Photo courtesy: Stephen Goodenough

“Two family homes make the most of a beautiful outlook towards Wairarapa Stream in urban Christchurch. Similar in form, each dwelling maximises the allowable building envelope, creating some voluminous internal living spaces, taking full advantage of the visual connection with the landscape running along the stream.


Each home consists of plastered half gables rising up toward the centre, encapsulating the softer material palette of the rich natural cedar, which is running through the centre and out towards the stream.


The homes are located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, in a low density residential zone, with a narrow street frontage opening out to a wide North-East facing boundary following the edge of a stream. This gave a great opportunity for both units to have a stream outlook, but also removed a large portion of the site due to planning restrictions along this edge.


Each home provides multiple living spaces to suit their individual family dynamics, with strong links to the landscaped outdoor courtyards overlooking a meandering waterway at the rear. Guest accommodation is provided on the ground level of each home with private spaces located on the first floor.


The design was focussed on the stream. As both families sought a similar outcome, the design solution was to create two elongated dwellings, each positioned to push their outdoor courtyards towards the stream.


A solid plastered gable form was seemingly cut and stretched out toward each boundary, exposing an inner layer of vertical cedar weatherboard. What could have been a single building was then split to entice a glimpse to the natural waterway via a narrow separation.


The dwellings are slightly offset, giving each home the ability to receive an abundance of natural light without compromising privacy to the living and private spaces.


Access to the private spaces on the first floor is via a unique stair in each dwelling. Each a focal point when migrating from the entrance through to the living spaces. One with a wine-rack within its undercroft, the other with a subtle randomness of tread, creating a small study nook under the landing.



The introduction of raking ceilings to both levels maximises the volume whilst giving a greater ability for light to penetrate the depths of the various spaces. This accentuates the connection with the natural landscape beyond. The living spaces, separated by sliding doors, allow each space to be adapted to suit the occasion, both having access to the expansive outdoor living area.


The outdoor spaces are broken into smaller intimate spaces giving a multitude of entertaining options. This teamed up with the internal living spaces forms the strong connection with the stream.”

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