Taipakupaku House

  • home + bach

Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington


Selected for The Living Channel's 'Best of New Zealand Home Design'

This family home sits on the historic Taipakupaku settlement in Karaka Bay, Wellington. The brief was to renovate, extend and consolidate the existing house, originally built around 1910, into a unique and tranquil residence that would provide the backdrop to family life.

The living room is cantilevered over a lit water feature; filtered morning sun produces reflections that dance on the ceiling, creating a sense of watery lightness. The doors of the living room peel open to extend the living room floor out like the deck of a boat.

On the exterior, the structure is articulated as two volumes. The first, with a pitched timber-clad roof, echoes the neighbouring roof forms, while a second volume, embedded in the side of the first, extends and anchors the space. Timber cladding on the exterior varies in colour, with silvery, weathered timber nearest the sea transitioning to a mixture of pale gold and a deeper, reddish bronze that links the house to the variegated bush behind it.

Deliberate and beautiful detailing finishes the house. An exquisite hand-carved oak front door maps the geography of the region, while Hone Tuwhare’s poem Rain, inscribed into a concrete exterior panel, acknowledges the sensory stillness of the house and surrounding environment. 

The house provides spaces through which family move in varying degrees of privacy, views, sunlight and noise; in the midst of this choreography of constant change, its jewel-like detail invites moments of contemplation, rewarding a closer look.

Selected for The Living Channel's 'Best of New Zealand Home Design'