2019 New Zealand Architecture Awards Winner
This resolutely internal house, sited on a steep and marginal site, successfully fulfils its purpose as an urban retreat. Providing compact but comfortable accommodation for four people, the small dwelling is a timely exercise in sufficiency and the optimisation of resources and opportunity. Designed as an efficient thermal cocoon, the house also serves as a tree house, connected through its clever positioning and carefully framed views, with the wider view and more immediate surrounds, especially the kōwhai tree for which it is named. The house, which was designed for the architect’s own family, is an intriguing exercise in self-experimentation – a little box of inbuilt happiness.