Elizabeth House by Dorrington Atcheson Architects

Elizabeth House

Located in Auckland, Elizabeth House is a contemporary family home designed by Dorrington Atcheson Architects. This new build in the heritage suburb of Freeman’s Bay is a composition of concrete, steel and glass that gives a handshake to the past.

Horizontal texture on the precast concrete walls echoes the linearity of weatherboards. The roof, styled as a Dutch gable and clad in steel, is conceived as habitable ‘attic’ space that makes reference to the dormers of colonial times.

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Although the Elizabeth house is interpreted within its suburban context as a single-storey form, it offers two levels for living. At its base, an elongated footprint spans 20 metres to lend a sense of generosity that is elevated by the double-height void above the living zone. The industrial palette meets its counterpoint in a cedar-wrapped insertion that curves into the living room but houses the garage.

Elizabeth House 2

In the kitchen, a wall of cabinetry in black-stained particle board continues to enclose a powder room and coat cupboard, while lowered ceilings define an intimacy. Two concrete-walled bunkers become a separate home office and studio for the owners.

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The surprising architectural geometry of the home is picked up in a spiral stair of concrete that leads to the upper level. Here, a diagonal bridge (again in precast concrete) is a link between the adults and kids’ bedrooms. A mischievous tube of colour encases the bathroom here, its faceted shape providing further visual interest. A bolts-and-all approach to the design creates a dwelling that is intentionally challenging with each element of its structural make-up exposed.

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This family home fits the owners’ brief for an interpretation of contemporary living that celebrates the raw expression of materials with an unexpected combination of openness and enclosure.

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