Stone Blade

Client Brief

We were approached to design a two storey, three bedroom contemporary styled home amongst a developing subdivision within the Taieri Plains. The clients required a house which responded to the surrounding mountain views and their evolving needs as a retired couple. Access to all primary living spaces was to be on one lower level flush with outdoor paving, lawns and gardens that offered both privacy controlled connectivity to the Street traffic and activity of neighbours.

The desire was to create a functional and elegant home, incorporating carefully considered open plan living with strong links to outdoor spaces and the wider landscape. Huge importance was to be put on clean lines, seamlessness, materiality and an uncompromised sense of order. Despite the precondition for the house to be an open plan they requested apartment styled living for the owners and a separate wing for guests and family with the potential to be closed off from the primary areas of the house. Although the guest wing was to be integrated within the overall design it was important for it to become spatially independent.

The clients were keen to go outside their comfort zone to achieve a modern home with a greater degree of indoor to outdoor transparency to gain maximum sunlight and landscape views plus level access to enjoy easy care indoor outdoor living. Materials and their use were to form a natural colour palette to bond interiors to landscaped spaces to provide a seamless connection and grounding to the residence.

Creative Solution & Design Features

Our architectural concept is a series of parallel stone blades with cedar and glass between. The vertical blades of stone rise in contrast with the flat site, intended to establish a sense of permanence and monumentality. These values were derived from the client brief and have been intrinsic to the design at every stage of development. In the context of a new and developing residential area, this house was to create an architectural landmark amongst the repetitive franchise style housing.

Stone blades with cedar, glass, aluminium, polished concrete floors and lighting effects are woven together with the site in a way which defines a point of difference, without detracting from the character of the Highland Park subdivision. The house planning links the interior and exterior by marrying seamless, materiality and geometry to provide a bespoke and contemporary living arrangement.

With respect for the living requirements of a retired couple, the master suite, Living, and Kitchen/Dining areas are arranged in three bays defined by stone blades. These three primary living spaces open out to courtyards with landscaping to the north and East. Two central stone blades rise to form the separate guest upper storey connected by a feature timber and glass staircase in a double height Entry. Upper level glass walls capture views of the Maungatua Hills to the north and the Chain Hills to the south. A feature stone blade provides a connective spine linking Entry Court, interior spaces and outdoor Living Court. The clients love the resultant modern home.


Commended ADNZ / Resene (Residential New Homeover 300sqm) 2015

Project details

  • Completion:


  • Location:


Contact Us

Gary Todd Architecture


18 Estuary Crescent
Fairfield, Dunedin

Head Office: 03 488 4594

Central Otago

62 Lagoon Avenue
Albert Town, Wanaka

Gary Todd: 027 279 9306


53b Edward Avenue
Edgeware, Christchurch

Courtney Todd: 027 388 6504

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