Located midway between Main Beach and Pilot Bay in Mount Maunganui, this urban dwelling stands as a testament to thoughtful design amidst a vibrant coastal setting. The 500 m2 site presented unique challenges with stringent planning controls, necessitating a design approach that harmonised with its surroundings while maximising the site’s potential without compromising neighbour relations.

The architectural response was a compact, multi-level home that seamlessly integrates single-level apartment functionality with independent guest and family accommodations. Essential to the brief was the incorporation of a future-proof lift and the use of durable, low-maintenance materials. The interior showcases a distinctive blend of Black Walnut and Tasmanian Blackwood, sourced directly from the clients’ rural property, ensuring a personal connection and sustainable ethos throughout.


Externally, the house presents a subtle yet striking facade clad in soft-white bricks reminiscent of the nearby sandy beaches. These bricks are meticulously crafted to create brise-soleil elements, offering both sculptural appeal and functional shading within the tight planning envelope. Complementing this are Shou Sugi Ban (charred wood) accents that discreetly conceal entrances and add a layer of natural texture, while black steel-framed window boxes playfully interact with light and shadow, enhancing the architectural drama.

Inside, a dramatic sculptural skylight volume references Mauao, central to the panoramic views enjoyed from the living areas. The interior spaces are enriched by the abundant use of the client’s home-grown woods, paired with elegant black steel and white brick accents that seamlessly merge the exterior palette with the indoors.

An internal courtyard and strategic use of brise-soleil not only enhance privacy but also optimise natural ventilation, creating tranquil spaces shielded from the elements. The result is a meticulously crafted urban dwelling that not only meets the practical needs of its residents but also enriches daily life through thoughtful design and material selection.