Birch Park | Matter Architects | ArchiPro

[Inara Trend Design] – Trend Home Design | Birch Park – At the top of this driveway in Whitford in Auckland’s rural east, timber gates open to reveal an undulating 1.8 hectare section that falls away towards the sea. Across the fence, a flock of sheep run gainfully toward the visitor; a welcome that serves to reinforce the immediate sense of calm this property exudes.

Birch Park was Designed as a family home to house several generations, architect Jon Smith of Matter Architects says the clients were focused on the most important things in life; family and friends, and that focus needed to translate into spaces that would comfortably house different family groups in private yet connected wings.

“To achieve this the design was conceived as a series of pavilions, interlocking with the landscape and allowing the site to flow through the built forms. The pavilions themselves are both linked together and separated by numerous courtyards as well as a cloistered walkway, which leads from the main building to a separate double-storeyed guest house; a building clearly delineated from the house in proper with a gabled form that juxtaposes the flat roof of the main building.”

From the entrance, the views are obscured by the lower wall plane of the south western, rear facade. Clad in brick, it is almost continuous aside from the small aperture that is the front door, an intentional deprivation of view from the entrance to the property that dissolves as you move within the home where the bricks reduce to small wing walls set between joinery.

“The lower levels have been settled into the land and this is reflected materially with the use of Petersen bricks, which were handmade in Denmark. They maintain a human feel and scale. Each lower exterior facade is clad in the same Petersen bricks, yet depending on the light and shadow each takes on a distinctive appearance. The beauty of these bricks is that they create a real sense of character in their unique texture and irregular finish. In some, you can see thumbprints – details that offer a real sense of grounding and narrative to the lower level.”

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