Marshall Cook’s new family home in Freemans Bay Auckland, is a synthesis of his beliefs on urban housing and his tectonic approach to design. Set in an historic neighbourhood of timber colonial houses on small lots, the Cook House responds very carefully and sensitively to scale and materials. This has enabled a very contemporary house in terms of form and detail, to integrate gracefully into its context.
While the existing houses are located on the street edge with empty backyards, the planning for the house was in response to sun orientation and privacy. Two-storey volumes occupy the front and rear of the site, bookending the conservatory-like central living space – a contrast of solid and light. Facing east, the space opens onto a private walled courtyard.
The wing located at the rear of the site, has been detailed in timber to soften its presence and be in harmony with its neighbours. The wing addressing the street is all together more urban - clad in brick tile, Carrara marble, glass and large motorised external timber louvers – it creates a strong formal presence to the public realm.
An innovative feature of the house is the flexibility it offers for family, extended family or working from home. The entry hall can be completely open or completely closed off from the living area creating a separate apartment from the main house. The apartment itself can be further closed down as needed with acoustic sliding walls to form individual rooms or leave as a single open space...