S House

A contemporary home designed as a dynamic space that prioritises garden connections.

The house zigzags across the site in an abstract ‘s’ shape, with spaces expanding out from a spine-corridor that expands and contracts as the house mediates the site.

The elongated plan allows more surface connection with the landscape and sun penetration for a south-facing section. The site wrapping creates east and west gardens – one each to reflect the differing tastes of each client.

S House


NZIA New Zealand Architecture Award – Housing category

NZIA Auckland Architecture Awards

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The parti – or overarching principle – of the S House goes something like this: divide a long, thin suburban lot into two gardens – native to the east, exotic to the west, to suit the client’s respective tastes – and wrap the house through them. 


As a design approach, it challenges the conventional front and back yard diagram of the residential villa-bungalow architecture predominant in heritage neighbourhoods. (There was, indeed, some light, neighbourly brouhaha, which motivated architecture critic John Walsh to describe the house as a “serpent in the garden of Mount Eden”).


However, with its compact form and central circulation, the S-House provides a number of lifestyle, and indeed street enhancing, benefits. 


The elongated plan, for instance, provides greater connection to the landscape and solar penetration into the south-facing section. The entry, through a porch at one of the corners, connects to a singular spine corridor that expands and contracts as social spaces and garden connections require. The house, essentially, is an active space between gardens, affording and rewarding occupants with multiple views and sectional level changes as they move throughout the site.

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