Two View House

Location: Waipu, Whangarei District

Type: New Build

Floor Area: 164m2 (115m2 upper, 49m2 lower)

Contractor: Clews Construction Ltd

Completed: 2017

Photography: Doug Pearson Photography

Designed for a couple with adult children who had recently moved north from Wellington. The brief called for a collection of ‘sheds’, one for living, one for sleeping and one for guests. It was very important to the owners that the house ‘sit well to the land’ and make the most of the spectacular coastal and rural views offered by the site. They wanted the house to be informal and to be able to live in a relaxed way, with the simplicity of a bach.      


The south facing site was heavily affected by an adjacent ridgeline to the north. In addition, it had a building height restriction plane imposed over it. This necessitated that the house be positioned in a ‘sweet spot’ both horizontally and vertically on the site, which allowed the full potential of the stunning coastal views over Bream Bay, the Hen and Chicken/Marotere Islands and Waipu Cove to be realised. It also facilitated all day winter sun into the house without compromising privacy from neighbours to the east. The floor level and roof line is set so that the house fits under the height restriction plane with millimetres to spare.


Conceived as a ‘long house’ straddling the natural contour of the site on an east/west axis. The living and sleeping wings are linked under a covered breezeway. Steps and decks running up the natural contour bisect the house on a north/south axis to form entry and access to the north lawn. This arrangement allows unimpeded sea views from the living wing and east facing covered deck with snippet rural views to the south. This is reversed in the sleeping wing with extensive rural views and snippet sea views to the east. The guest wing is placed under the sleeping wing with immediate connection to the site via a private courtyard on the west. Covered car and boat parks are created under the living wing and breezeway.   


Local rural vernacular architecture is referenced with the selection of prefinished horizontal profiled metal cladding especially on the south and west facing elevations where it offers a low maintenance, naturally rain-washed solution. Vertical Cedar cladding with a natural oil stain finish is used in areas around the north and east facing decks, where its tactile qualities can be enjoyed, it is protected by eaves and can be easily maintained if required.


Environmental credentials of this house include; double glazing, high levels of thermal insulation (140mm walls), passive solar energy use, natural ventilation strategies (cross and stack ventilation), material/cladding selection (Environmental Choice), onsite wastewater treatment, potable water collection and reticulation and prewire for PV solar installation.    

“We lived in Wellington for many years and decided to move north for business and family reasons. We purchased  land on the hill near Waipu Cove in 2015, and decided we should seek a local architect who had an affinity with the area. After a thorough search online, we selected Jeff Brickell to design us a contemporary, very relaxed home with views of Bream Bay and the surrounding countryside. We have been involved in design for over 30 years, so we knew what sort of home we wanted, but we needed an architect to place it in the right place on the section and integrate the building with the landscape. Our home is built in three parts – living , dining & kitchen; a separate wing for us, and an apartment for family and friends – all connected by decks.  Working with Jeff was a pleasure – he cheerfully accepted that we had fairly well developed ideas of our own about the look and feel of the house, and he worked extremely well with us to achieve an end result we are very happy with. He also went the extra mile to make sure the house was built in exactly the right spot on our land to achieve the best sea view. We have no hesitation in recommending Jeff and would be happy to discuss our project with any potential client.”