Docherty House

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  • 2020

  • Architectural
    Commercial and Residential

Designed By:

  • Tim Dorrington - Dorrington Atcheson Architects

Commissioned By:

Rob and Alison Docherty

Designed In:

New Zealand

The first step in a “masterplan” the initial dwelling was intended as a holiday home for the clients that would transition to become guest accommodation when the main house, to be located on the grassy plateau below the original, was completed.


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Emma-Jane Hetherington
Emma-Jane Hetherington
Emma-Jane Hetherington
Emma-Jane Hetherington
Emma-Jane Hetherington
Emma-Jane Hetherington
Emma-Jane Hetherington
Emma-Jane Hetherington
  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • Situated in the hills overlooking Langs Beach the view is breathtaking and the form and materials of the house have been deliberately restrained, so as to ensure the outlook remains the hero, in response to the client's brief of restraint and simplicity. Taking its cue from modernism the house is a composition of simple forms, one large cedar block, one black roof plane and one concrete floor plane. Designed as a mini-house, only as big as it needs to be and no bigger, the clients wanted a lock up and leave practical solution to enhance their lifestyle.

  • Consisting of 2 bedrooms, bathroom, living/kitchen and an office/media room, this small yet functional space has been elevated via a long skylight, allowing light to flood the interior of the house and breaking down the notion of inside versus out. The space was conceived as a veranda, seamlessly opening to the concrete terrace beyond, via large full height and width sliding doors. The covered terrace then wraps around the north western side of the house where the cedar block has been recessed to provide an external room space, protected from the sun and prevailing wind.

  • Comfortable and warm, the extended glazing and concrete floors play an integral role in heating the house and at only 97.5m2 plus garage, with uninterrupted views, this “modern” home ticks a lot of boxes. The house was positioned to suit existing platforms provided by the site, negating the need for any earthworks and faces due north, ensuring maximum sun on the front façade. This, according to the owners, heats the house for much of the winter without the need for additional heating. The multi-use flexible spaces were employed to minimize overall house size. Robust materials used require minimal maintenance.

  • The media room doubles as a gym and office and the garage provides much needed storage and also houses the dogs. To combat the sun exposure large eaves are provided to the north west and east to minimize over heating in this exposed north facing location and almost all the window and door units are able to be opened, allowing the house to breath and passively ventilate. High-level clerestory windows provide northern light to the southern portion of the house, and encourage further passive ventilation. The detailing continues the modernist ethos of the design with a fascia of folded and trim-less aluminium providing the function of parapet flashing, fascia and soffit flashing, whilst removing any extraneous lines from the form. Steel posts and downpipes have been paired and placed so as to become a part of the design.