Property editor of the NZ Herald

What is it like inside New Zealand's most expensive house?

The sale of 13 Burwood Cres was recorded as Auckland's most expensive sale of 2016. Photo / Patrick Reynolds
The sale of 13 Burwood Cres was recorded as Auckland's most expensive sale of 2016. Photo / Patrick Reynolds

Thunderbirds Are Go meets native tropical planting, dark moody hallways lead to startling views of the Waitemata and robust cantilevered floors hang suspended above Hobson Bay - welcome to the most expensive New Zealand house sold this year.

The Remuera house's startling simplicity and starkness is one of its most appealing aspects, along with its dramatic setting on a sloping site, where the edge of a pristine swimming pool dissolves into a sparkling Hobson Bay.

As architects say, 'truth is beauty' and it doesn't get much more truthful - or indeed beautiful - in New Zealand than this.

The Weekend Herald reported how the $18 million paid for 13 Burwood Cres was thought to have set the national record for 2016 after free website homes.co.nz revealed that price for the house built only recently by Aucklanders Warren and Sarah Couillault. He is a finance specialist who two months ago bought a share of Macquarie Private Wealth.

A wealthy American is understood to have bought the place, captured in a beautiful series of images by renowned Auckland architectural photographer Patrick Reynolds.

The $18m sale was by Graham Wall who also set last year's record of $24m for a Herne Bay sale.

The Couillault's Remuera house was designed by Julian Guthrie of Godward Guthrie Architecture, who explains more on his website: "The requirement was for a large new family home maximising connection to the exterior spaces and views over Auckland harbour."

The house is a startling group of clearly defined concrete boxes.

"The house was inspired by the harbour edge war bunkers in Auckland, dug in to the cliff while open to the sea. In situ and precast concrete was used to create a monastic simplicity, with textural contrast between structures rising from the ground against walls sitting above," Guthrie said.

Circular concrete columns are perhaps a nod to Le Corbusier.

The 1586sqm site with expansive harbour views was built around 2010. Photo / Patrick Reynolds
The 1586sqm site with expansive harbour views was built around 2010. Photo / Patrick Reynolds

Bedrooms are on the upper or street levels, while the kitchen/living/dining areas are on the ground or lower level, flowing seemlessly out onto the private grounds with a big swimming pool.

All this provides a dramatic viewing platform for the Waitemata Harbour, across to Devonport's Mt Victoria and North Head and to Rangitoto Island. Mature native trees, including Nikau Palms, frame those views.

The house was designed by Julian Guthrie of Godward Guthrie Architecture. Photo / Patrick Reynolds
The house was designed by Julian Guthrie of Godward Guthrie Architecture. Photo / Patrick Reynolds

A weir or infinity pool gives the impression that water cascades off the cliff edge, down into Hobson Bay. Extensive unshaded areas are offered for seating around the pool but a pool house or room is also situated to the west for shade.

Massive upper level cantilevered floors provide shade immediately out from the main ground-floor living areas, supported by circular concrete posts.

The design was inspired by Auckland's war bunkers. Photo / Patrick Reynolds
The design was inspired by Auckland's war bunkers. Photo / Patrick Reynolds

A seamless flow has been created to connect the outdoor dining areas - with its own fireplace - through to the kitchen and dining areas, across to big indoor living areas.

"To create connection to the terraces, pool and gardens, the living areas were all placed one level below street entry level. Entrance is a sequence of reveals and descents into the home," Guthrie said.

"The building is a built contradiction in terms, at once seemingly impenetrable and massive, and yet dissolving into the expansive horizon."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 26 Sep 2016 18:41:24 Processing Time: 538ms