Navigators House


Navigators House is for a family of sailors overlooking the upper reaches of North Harbour. It is an addition to the rear of a one hundred year old sandstone and brick bungalow on a sloping block.

The key spatial challenge was connection of the first floor living space with the rear yard below and creating a sense of continuity across the site.To this end, the living spaces are conceived as the deck with an operable, tuneable façade and sun screening to the East. A narrow external deck sits lower than the floor to give access outside doors but without interrupting the downward view to the yard.

In the same way as a sailing boat is highly tuneable to suit conditions, the operable parts of the house are all highly adjustable. Nothing is only ‘open’ or ‘shut’. Everything can be opened partly, angled to the breeze or battened down tightly in the case of big South Easterly fronts, which assault the area on occasions.

The new addition attempts to retain the same sense of honest materiality and spatial simplicity as the pre-existing house. While the addition is obviously of a different era, the underlying hope is that the new has the same gravitational pull as the old, and that both will survive together as joyful artefacts of their time.


Project Team : Matt Elkan and Daina Cunningham

Structural Engineer : SDA (Charles Blumer)

Landscape Architect : Jane Britt

Builder : Cunningham Building Solutions

Photographs : Clinton Weaver

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