01 / 09 / 2021
Esplanade House is a three storey private home and separate rentable dwelling built on Sumner Esplanade, Christchurch, overlooking the vast views of the Ocean and surrounding hills.
The challenging brief of this project required the design of two dwellings on the site, one main and one rentable, with garage space for four cars, an additional covered carpark, and to maximise the building height in order to gain optimal access to the views.
The design aimed to fragment the building, creating terraced decks at each level, including a spa area on the top floor, each allowing the resident to enjoy the will of Pegasus Bay.
A timber skin then wraps around Stoke Street and the Esplanade, offering protection to these fragmented geometric forms from the openness of the corner site and the public gaze. The composition of this timber skin has been approached like painting on a canvas where geometric shapes i.e. the windows and tile feature are added and subtracted from it.
The landscaping design sees the trees along Stoke Street highlight the rigidity of the overall form and counter balance the cantilevers, softening the street frontage to the passing pedestrians.
The entry to the home features a complex system of steps that softens the extra required floor height for flood restrictions, creating an interesting journey though the limited space left on site. At the top of this terracing journey you are welcomed to the rhythmic random width and depth cedar front door with large timber handle, and brought inside to a foyer space with white walls and directionally leading timber features.
The internal stairwell is a dominant feature throughout the house, connecting the three floors together from one vertical thoroughfare. The lower floor stairwell is framed by an oak ceiling feature which draws the visitor upwards to the main living area, while the upper stairs have fragmented views through to the hills and across the ocean.
The main living level is fully open plan with a studio nook to the south, allowing unobstructed views to the ocean from the living, dining and kitchen. Several timer features with different timber species and detailing are also utilised here to define the different uses of spaces within this floor.
The house has been designed for thermal comfort. It is well insulated to minimize the need of heating during winter, and uses cross ventilation for cooling in the warmer summer days. The Cross Laminated Timber panels (CLT) have been insulated from the outside, providing thermal mass that will balance temperature variances. These solid timber panels also provide a high amount of acoustic insulation creating a very quiet internal environment.