A small townhouse, with Japanese design elements backing onto a supermarket carpark in the centre of Cambridge, was today declared the winner of an architectural award.
Architect Christopher Beer won a $15,000 prize from HOME magazine for his design of the Waikato house for clients Grant and Karen Jack.
Editor Simon Farrell-Green said the house had elements of Japanese design and style and people progressed from public to private areas.
"It's a dramatic home whose clever spaces belie its modest budget. The project is beautifully realised and layered, creating poetry from the most prosaic of materials, including second-grade cedar, rejected bricks, corrugate and concrete," he said.
The 155sq m house was built on a 314sq m site in downtown Cambridge, backing onto a New World supermarket service lane, Farrell-Green said.
Six houses were short-listed for the awards.
The Cambridge house has two bathrooms, two bedrooms and a studio/gallery for artist Grant Jack. Car parks are at the rear. It has two bathrooms and a living/kitchen/dining area combined, he said.
"The courtyards are essential to this house because they sit inside that main brick wall and they're a part of the inside as well as the outside space, instead of a back yard and a front yard.
"The owners previously had a house with a lot of glass. This Cambridge house is quite enclosed. It's not all glass. It's quite shadowy and tucked in and that's why the architect has done that sunken living room because it gives a place to retreat to.
"It has a public front court yard which people can see into from the street, with timber opening gates. That's quite deliberately public. But down the back of the house is very private and contained and that's what gives the house its energy," Farrell-Green said.
"The owners worked collaboratively with Beer, an old friend, to create a remarkable project which both engages and retreats from the street, combining home life and work in a delicately layered space," he said.