Affronting the harsh and unforgiving landscape it sits amongst, Courtyard House is conceived from a carving into the overall form, remaining protected and yet outward reaching. Strachan Group Architects takes noted cues from the surrounding rural setting by proposing an aptly resilient home.
On its dedicated platform clearing, Courtyard House looks out towards Manukau Heads and the Gulf Islands from its siting in Coromandel, located in New Zealand’s North Island. Positioned on a hill, the home sits open to the north taking in the generous surrounding views, whilst remaining protected from the elements to the south. Due to its underfoot conditions and the undulating terrain of the site, the cleared ledge determined the resulting building envelope. Ensuring the least disruptive impact to the elevated site, the outline of the home was specified by the available outer parameters. To create connections between the building and the landscape, carefully articulated openings and reliefs have been carved into the façade – the most prominent carving being the central, and namesake, courtyard.
Taking reference from the principles underlying the iconic Driza-Bone waterproof coat, the outer shell and formation of the structure offers protection from the elements with an opening at the opposite, softer side. With its masonry brick base, the home is anchored to the terrain through a weightedness and allows the upper level to sit lighter, where profiled metal sheeting clads peaked forms. Inspiration is taken from other rural buildings in the area, as well as a simplified boldness of form, utilitarian and stout. The home’s forms take occupancy around a central courtyard space, each reminiscent of the familiar lean-to type structures found in remote areas, elevated through heightened detailing and an intended permanence.
Home to a small family, with adult children visiting on occasion, the house needed the ability to expand and contract as required. Adding warmth, timber clads the northern softer and more open sides, which is then brought inward, encasing the interior experience of the home. As large eaves extend outward and the glazing is pushed in, a generous deck allows a spill over from the living space towards the views. The integration of the landscape and the shielding retaining walls aid in the protection of the home in parts, adding a natural and more organic greenness.
The home’s forms take occupancy around a central courtyard space, each reminiscent of the familiar lean-to type structures found in remote areas, elevated through heightened detailing and an intended permanence.
In responding to its remote location, Courtyard House captures and uses its own energy, while being appropriately conceived to withstand the elements. Through strategic plantings and terrain manipulation, Strachan Group Architects has proposed a structure that should become one with the terrain over time, further minimising the structure’s impact and resulting in a home of lasting fortitude.