Desmond House

Desmond Housefixed 02
Desmond Housefixed 02

Desmond Street House is a new 400m2 family home on a riverside site, purchased post-earthquake in Merivale, Christchurch.

Flood control requirements required the floor level to be set ~800mm clear of existing ground.

Planning takes account of river setbacks and a substantial protected Copper Beach tree. An existing root system required protection within a 10m radius, inflecting the floorplan and informing the arrangement of interior spaces.

The house itself is a specific response to the site, and to the owners’ requirements. Our clients’ shared interest was in abstracted forms, which in turn create unexpected spaces within. The design acknowledges earlier raised-floor precedents - Craig Ellwood’s Rosen House in California (1961) and OAB’s House 2 For A Photographer in Spain (2006).

The house is an example of our interest in the future and the past, contemporary forms informed by classic precedents, translating and expressing the desires of our clients who were interested in adventure and a sculptural outcome.



"This large family home, with a strongly geometric, low-slung form, sits like a shadow on the Merivale riverbank. The exterior is entirely clad in black, which creates an air of mystery when viewed from the road, however, enter the abstracted planes and you'll find a series of unexpectedly voluminous, light-filled spaces that open up to views of the lush park and river landscape beyond. One part rock star, one part understated family haven on a tight suburban street – this house straddles an unusual dichotomy without missing a beat." - 2019 NZIA Canterbury Awards Jury citation

Desmond Housefixed 01