Tucked into an Auckland Hillside: Okura House by Bossley Architects

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Fond of rectangles? Then you’ll love this modern home, Okura House, in North Shore, Auckland, New Zealand, as realized from a design by Bossley Architects. The house is a series of long rectangles, pressed three meters into the ridge in order to impinge as little as possible on its neighbors’ views of the sea and countryside surrounding them. Nestled thus and literally in rolling hills, the home becomes part of the landscape rather than an intrusion into it; at one point, part of the house almost seems to float just slightly above the grass. An illusion? Perhaps. On the other hand, a bedroom wing does cantilever over the slope…and two separate buildings, linked by screens and lightweight roof, delineate the entry and pool area, minimizing the visual “bulk.”

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Over the main living area is an earthen roof — a feature that mimics the ridge when viewed from a distance — while cantilevers partially shelter the outdoor living area. Here a beautiful stone patio forms a gathering point for al fresco dining; on one side, it’s a casual picnic table and benches, while on the other there are chairs, table, and umbrella; fronting both is an outdoor fireplace. And then there’s the magnificent pool, just a stone’s throw away, tucked beside a long walkway backed by wood slats and surrounded by a high cedar privacy fence. Making the most of a sloping home site, plus capitalizing on a panorama around it: that’s this Okura house, an inviting spot that fits the land like a glove.

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).