The ship house has been designed with a U-shaped plan to ensure every room has a view to the central courtyard and nearby tidal estuary. Located on the water’s edge with the great Redcliffs and Te Ana o Hineraki — Moa Bone Point Cave in the background the home sits on a plot previously occupied with a house constructed by a local boat builder in the form of a ship’s superstructure which was irreparably damaged in the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. The new home sit atop of a re-landscaped section which traces the outline of the original building.
The property owners wished for a home to emphasise the importance of a central courtyard and so the house has been designed as an interpretation of a traditional Japanese courtyard residence adapted to suit the local context. The aim was to make the most of the connection between indoor and outdoor spaces and views between them all to the surrounding landscape.
Four pavilions are organised around a private courtyard, each with its own floating metal and timber roof. A central hallway passes through the home, flanked by oversized glass panel doors and timber walls which all slide open in parallel to reveal the inner workings of the house. Different combinations of sliding doors and sliding walls allow internal spaces to open toward the courtyard, retreat into their own privacy, or achieve a measure of both. The main pavilion houses the kitchen and living spaces with the remaining three containing sleeping areas, guest rooms, car-parking and services. A simple collection of bleached timber and long-run metal clad the building.