The best home in NZ named (+pics, video)

A holiday home on Waiheke Island with curving walls and secret doors has been named the Best House in New Zealand.

Nicholas Stevens and Gary Lawson of Auckland's Stevens Lawson Architects were awarded the $15,000 first prize at HOME New Zealand magazine's Home of the Year award function in Auckland last night.

Check out the winning home and the finalists in this gallery.

The Home of the Year 2013 is located on a prominent headland and is made up of three curved, timber-clad pod forms. The windows of the pods frame slices of a dramatic 270-degree panorama that takes in Onetangi Beach, a series of rocky headlands and a pohutukawa tree overhanging a sheer drop to the ocean. Architect Gary Lawson describes the home as having an "organic" layout resembling "pebbles scattered on a beach".

The pod forms are linked by a central living, dining and kitchen area that feels like a futuristic verandah. The rooms within the pods are accessed through "secret" doors concealed in the pods' walls.

"We wanted to create a bit of mystery," architect Stevens said.

"The judges admired the home's discreet presence on the headland, and its innovative approach to creating delightful spaces," said HOME New Zealand editor Jeremy Hansen, who convened the three-person Home of the Year 2013 jury.

"The home's warm, highly crafted interiors are unique, intriguing and deeply respectful of a remarkable site."

The 285-square-metre house has three guest bedrooms on a lower level that isn't visible from the beach below.

"It's a house that's surprising and engaging as a series of spatial experiences," Lawson said.

"It's a thrilling series of spaces to move through and engage the senses".

The Home of the Year was selected from a shortlist of 11 homes from an open entry process. The shortlisted homes were visited by jury members Jeremy Hansen, Lance Herbst of Auckland's Herbst Architects, and Cathleen McGuigan, the New York-based editor of Architectural Record magazine.

The five other finalists:

• A home near Nelson by Hugh Tennent and Sharon Jansen of Wellington's Tennent Brown Architects.

• A home in Whanganui designed and built by Ben Mitchell-Anyon, Tim Gittos and Sally Ogle of Patch Work Architecture.

• A home in Westmere, Auckland, designed by Jane Priest of Lochore Priest Architects for herself, her husband and their two children.

• A courtyard home near Wanaka designed by Dominic Glamuzina and Aaron Paterson of Glamuzina Paterson Architects.

• A renovation of a mid-century Ernest A. Kalnins home in Christchurch by Duval O'Neill of Herriot + Melhuish Architects.

- www.nzherald.co.nz

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