Envisioned as a thermal cocoon, Rafe Maclean Architects have created Kowhai House, located in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Sitting upon a steep and marginal site, the timber and aluminium-clad box fulfils its purpose as an urban retreat. Despite its size, the home can comfortably house four people, with Rafe Maclean outlining how to optimise every inch of space in order to create a dwelling that makes the most of its modest envelope.
The house’s location makes it forgivable to think it wasn’t designed as a treehouse. Sitting atop a canopy and overlooking a dense green area below, the home derives its name from the kōwhai tree, of which it overlooks a number.
Designed for the architect’s own family, the home itself has clearly been the product of an experiment into space and material. Its exposed timber walls underline the sustainable characteristics of contemporary design, with its minimalist kitchen offering a functional and practical area that doubles as the heart of the home.
Kowhai House is effectively an escape away from the hustle and bustle that metropolitan living can bring about. Containing views to a lush surrounding landscape and providing a practical getaway from the city, Rafe Maclean Architects have devised a texturally restrained yet assured home that offers a point of difference to living within the confines of a city.