Project: Riverside House
Architect: Three Six Architecture
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Area: 3,121 sf
Photo by: Simon Devitt
Riverside House by Three Sixty Architecture
The Riverside Home is a stellar modern home designed by Three Six Architecture in a very desirable area of the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. With more than 3,000 square feet to offer, this house provides an elegant living solution in limited space. The room is simple and not cluttered and everything has a touch of sunlight.
Riverside House is an elegant and sculptured family paradise located in a very limited location by two main arterial routes on the desired corner of Hagley Park. The challenge is to make the best use of the site and adjust the large family home into a tight building envelope that is limited by the setback of the river and the footprints provided by the original house that occupies the land. Embracing river bank arrangements while maintaining privacy is a major concern for clients and short projects.
Our response is to design simple compositions of interrelated and cut open shapes to expose interior spaces to adjacent rivers and outside garden views. The ground floor contains a kitchen, dining room, living room, garage and guest suite. The upper floor contains a bedroom and a media room.
Large sliding glass doors open fully to dissolve the boundary between interior and exterior spaces, further reinforced with infinite floor tiles and wall layers that are used continuously between interior and exterior spaces. The terrace flows from the main living room and leads to a separate garden pavilion containing a swimming pool, spa and dressing room.
The living room in the house is limited and minimal. The entire ground floor is open and connected to each other but does not feel stiff or sterile. The kitchen is carefully detailed with functional cooking areas hidden in separate enclosures, allowing residents to enjoy the main room without clutter.
The materiality is sophisticated and elegant – shining concrete rendering, dark stone and wood floors provide a rich and tactile experience. Smooth separation of shapes allows the upper level to float freely above the lower one. Elegant details that shed light on strong western elevations.
The design responds to privacy by combining a textured mixture of screening devices – from dark vertical louvers along the south and north facades to softer interior covers intended to envelop and hide the interior environment without losing the inhabitants’s relationship with the river and outside gardens. Filtered light and shadows created by the first floor grille produce a calm and orderly collection of spaces that respond to the tempo of the day and season.
This is a building that celebrates its location and praises the context of the existing site and the surrounding landscape, but still provides a comfortable resting place away from the very busy urban environment. Collaborators on this project are Lume Design for interiors, and Outerspace Landscapes.
The main design elements that make up the sustainability approach for this project are an envelope that is well insulated, located and formed to follow the best practices of passive solar design principles. The orientation of the Riverside house is largely determined by the geometry of the site but the location of the openings together with carefully considered overhangs combine to create a residence that reduces excess heat in summer while taking full advantage of the lower sun’s angle in winter.
The entire ground floor is concrete tiles that are activated when the winter sun penetrates the depths of the house, allowing for the benefit of passive sun. The plates are also heated with water pipes that are used through an air-to-water heat pump. The vertical grille that surrounds the upper level is positioned to filter out the sun’s rays and reduce the bedroom space that is too hot.
The Riverside House meets all the needs of this living family, and while the house checks boxes for the basics of sustainable living, it also has the warmth of materiality, connection to context, and connection to the landscape that evokes a positive response from residents who will be enjoyed during many years to come.
–Three Six Architecture