Treading the Earth Lightly – Oneroa House by Strachan Group Architects
Waiheki Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Treading the earth lightly, utilising the footprint of an existing dwelling, Oneroa House perches out over a steep site. Strachan Group Architects captures panoramic views over multiple levels.
Nestled into the side of a steeply sloping site in Oneroa, the like-named home gestures outward to the incredible surrounding views beyond. Overlooking the Oneroa Bay from Hakaimango Point and the Hauraki Gulf, full-height glazing frames and directs sightlines from within, out toward the coast. Uniquely, the home sits comfortably on an existing footprint of a previous dwelling (which was transported to another site and re-used), allowing for an efficient and considered utilisation of the land. Avoiding interrupting new soil and ensuring as little impact as possible was key.
Strachan Group Architects has brought a contemporary lightness to the rural expansive site. The balance of weighted masonry materiality is counteracted by a precision in glazing and framework that acts to curate views. The interchange of these materials allows for the tension between protection and reveal to be brought into a unison, providing both refuge and outreach. The anchoring of the bulk of the home is enabled by the reuse of the existing masonry from the previous home.
The expansive site of Oneroa House is shared by existing visitor accommodation and its own private vineyard. While the upper levels speak to a more light-weight openness, the lower levels imbue a bunker aesthetic. Timber is used as a means to soften the internal spaces, adding a warmer and more welcoming residential feel. The cedar timber used on the façade is also used in conjunction with copper clad window boxes to frame a curated series of sight lines, down toward the bay.
Avoiding interrupting new soil and ensuring as little impact as possible was key.
With the master suite and open living area on the upper floor, the lower levels reflect a more protected and enclosed impression. While burrowed into the side of the site, the use of materiality allows for a protection from the elements, namely the conditions from the south. As a relief between zones, an outdoor room is implanted, rooted in Japanese design principles as a pause in between the architectural gestures. Unifying all of the elements is the one skillion roof structure, spanning the length of the structure and binding its components together.
Strachan Group Architects brings a balance of elements and contrasting materiality together with Oneroa House, making the absolute most of its location and expansive views.