Situated on the lower slopes of the Port Hills, Hillsborough House has been designed to gently fit the terrain with minimal impact on the environment, floating above a lush garden featuring mature trees which were left behind when a quake-damaged home was demolished. The brief was for a resource efficient, environmentally sound home to house a large collection of art and literature and integrate seamlessly with the natural surroundings.
From the street, the building is understated and well-grounded by the fair-face, concrete spline wall running the extent of the house and into the landscape. This acts as a shield from the busy street separating the garage and utility areas from the outward-looking living spaces. The brutalist materiality of the entry hall forms a compressed, urban art gallery glimpsing the surrounding bush through a fully glazed wall at the end of the passage. The gallery transitions to light-filled lounge, dining and kitchen areas which embrace the leafy landscape and vistas across the treetops to the city and mountains beyond. The bedroom wing cantilevers out, reaching towards the bush surround so that occupants feel as though they are sleeping in the trees. The corner of the living room has been orientated so that the expansive corner glazing opens up a view directly through a gap in the trees to the city beyond.