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New Zealand beach house covered by a canopy of pohutukawa trees

This amazing contemporary beach house surrounded by pohutukawa trees was designed by , located in Piha, a seaside village west of Auckland, on New Zealand’s North Island. The pohutukawa trees carry a great symbolic significance to the region, therefore they are protected by the local authorities. This presented a challenge to the architects, to build on the site that was part of a belt of beachfront forest that is covered with these sacred trees.

The homeowners had simple requests: a three bedroom home filled with natural light and the ability to open the home up during the temperate summer months. Beyond this, the architects had carte-blanche, looking to the trees for inspiration on the structure’s form and siting. The first priority was to remove as little trees as possible, which led to the decision to build two levels in order to minimize the home’s footprint. This also led to creating a foundation as a series of raised piles rather than a concrete slab to protect the roots that would remain under the structure (under four trees were removed).

After the architects determined the siting of the home, they focused on planning the interior layout. This centered on creating an open layout consisting of a double volume living room, dining room and kitchen. Two of the four walls surrounding this space are composed entirely of glass.

The glass also extends partway up the roof, creating a skylight that extends the entire width of the living and dining room—flooding the space with natural light despite being covered by a canopy of pohutukawa trees. Three other sides of this space features clerestory windows, further aiding in natural light penetration.

Adjacent to the living room is a pair of double volume spaces that are devoted to the private zones of the house, which accommodates three bedrooms (one on the first level, two on the second) and a garage. A narrow mezzanine overlooks the living/dining area, which connects these two volumes — clad on the exterior with dark cedar boards arranged in a series of battens. The interior is finished in natural cedar, adding a light warmth to the space and an elegant respite from the dense forest surrounding the home.

What We Love: This spectacular beach home in New Zealand maximizes its site thanks to the architects clever design. Considering the property was 90-percent covered by pohutukawa trees, the structure was well integrated to protect and preserve nature. The interiors of the home takes full advantage of its surroundings, integrating the forest through walls of glass. Overall a beautiful design that is inviting and warm… Readers, tell us in the Comments, what are your overall thoughts on the design? Would you live here?

Note: Have a look at another home tour we featured here on Fitflopsale-Singapore from the portfolio of Herbst Architects: Beach shelter retreat on Great Barrier Island: Timms Bach.

Photos: Patrick Reynolds

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