A ‘pop-up gable’ reconfigures the possibilities of family life in an ex-state house.
While only 32 square metres have been added, the new living room, bedroom and an ensuite bathroom completely change the way this house operates.
It’s a playful and colourful project. Orange highlights and the warm tones of the timber sarking contrast with the dark exterior weatherboards that unify old and new.
This Auckland ex-state-house alteration was for a four-person family who required some (but not too much) additional space. In total, only 32 square metres have been added; predominantly within a gabled second storey that is positioned perpendicular to the original house.
The verticality has a beacon–like effect; it also completely changes the way the house relates to the mountain and the streetscape. It drapes over the existing structure like a canopy, open ends creating a welcoming connection to the street on one side and framing a tree-filled view of Big King Reserve on the other.
The decision to lift the new volume was driven by a desire to maximise usable area at ground level, where the house connects to a luscious and well-used garden through large living room doors. Going up also also created space downstairs for a formal entry, transforming the once almost indiscernible entrance into a welcoming focal point.
Inspired by the best examples of compact Japanese architecture, where sensitivity to spatial use sees every square inch maximised, we looked to create unexpected grandeur through craft and detail. For instance, in the dining room, a carefully placed bench seat and window become a playspace for children. The plywood stair, a vital connection between the two levels, is elegant and open – and plays a dual role as storage for a beloved record player and vinyl collection.
These personal items and touches make a house feel like a home. And this once standard state house – one on a street of many – is now a bespoke piece of architecture that’s fully reflective of the client’s needs.