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Anchor 17

Sounds House

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand


New-build home designed to take maximum advantage of stunning views and the temperate climate of its picturesque setting in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand.  Taking camping as a metaphor the house has been conceived as a minimal form of enclosure in two parts -  a simple wooden platform providing a ‘ground’ upon which domestic activities can occur and an innovative rubber cladding system providing a ductile, tent-like enclosure above.  Inverting the typical house typology the plan has been conceived as being predominantly an ‘exterior’ with interior space furnished as both 'islands' and ‘pockets’ within the tent-like enclosure.


In section the house is mono-pitched, sloping gently up towards the east where bedrooms catch the morning sun. Here the fabric-like skin of the building is folded down to blinker the bedrooms from the main views to the north whilst a louvered glass wall allows the sea breeze and birdsong to filter in from the east.  A partially covered courtyard separates the bedrooms from the main living area, placing exterior space at the centre of the plan and reinforcing the conception of interior space as ‘islands’ within a larger exterior field.  Large glass doors enclose the living space which, when slid away into pockets in the walls, merge courtyard and living areas into one fluid space; at times enclosed and at others entirely open.


Status: completed, 2005

Budget: withheld at client request

Designer: Stephen Bonnington and Amanda Yates

Architect: Archiscape and Kebbell Daish 




NZIA Regional Award 2010, Nelson Marlborough



Another 100 of the World’s Best Houses, Robyn Beaver, Images Publishing Group.

House and Garden New Zealand, ‘Coastal Trading’, Claire Findlayson, Mar 2005, No. 127: 36-42.

Architecture New Zealand, ‘Seduced in the Sounds’, Tommy Honey, Nov / Dec 2003: 80-83.



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