Malcolm Taylor and Associates

Tree House

Victory Road, Laingholm Auckland
Residential – 2006

Sited on a bush clad ridge in Laingholm, within a nature reserve protection zone, this client has built an affordable house in the trees.The building is conceived as a wooden jewellery box, with cut outs at the living level to... Read more

Sited on a bush clad ridge in Laingholm, within a nature reserve protection zone, this client has built an affordable house in the trees.

The building is conceived as a wooden jewellery box, with cut outs at the living level to create protection from the elements as you move from inside to out. These cutouts are articulated as black stained cedar or white painted compressed sheet. The additional colour also helps the building express a large 2 way cantilever on the South end of the building and a smaller cantilever over the kitchen.The client grew up on building sites helping her dad build in her holidays for many years. Together they have aimed to blend both modern construction and traditional building techniques, when Ginny and her partner asked her dad to build there home.

The house is stacked up in three floors with the main living space flowing from North to South, on the middle level.The client wanted the interior to feel ship-like, hence a wide use of recycled and new clear finished timbers were used. The stairs run up the side of a two storey Meranti ply storage wall, with each open tread made of Rimu, Matia & Macrocarpa laminated hardwoods. These off cuts had been in storage for years waiting for the right project.

The upper two floors are made of recycled Rimu T & G flooring from a demolition project in Thames. Glen milled the timber into 6mm T & G strips and this was glue, cramped and nail fixed as an overlay floor onto 20mm HD particle board, giving the house a very "old soul".

The exterior cedar window and door joinery was also manufactured by Glen. He ran cedar frames with LOSP pine sills, finished with the traditional cedar 60x10 interior architraves, sealed with Thompson's oil. All the interior doors of the house are hand made laminated hardwood solid core doors.The exterior cladding of the building is clad with 17.5 mm ply R.A.B. nailed fixed wet. When the ply dries out it tightens up like a drum. Once dry it was paint sealed. Over the ply was a batten and board vertical cedar cladding system which was made up of 90mm, 125 mm, and 150mm wide band sawn lengths. This has added an organic feel to the exterior.

The kitchen also has an interesting collection of materials. The pantry is Meranti ply, the kitchen drawers are faced with a copper laminate with rimu horizontal surface mounted pull handles, producing a strong horizontal rhythm.This house has been created with limited resources, with a combination of youthful exuberance and traditional construction techniques to create a balance of the Old and the New.