Blockhouse Bay, Auckland


Oriented towards the sun,

this small home on an infill site promotes year round sunlight and warmth.



Project Description

Blockhouse sits on a rear suburban site and maximises the site's natural orientation to provide for a bright, sunny home that is intimately related to it's exterior. The brief called for a compact three bedroomed home, with all rooms orientated to an urban garden, northern light, and privacy maintained. The strategy for providing a home with all habitable rooms facing towards the sun was to take advantage of the unusual width of the site, and to pull the lower floor living areas out either side of the upper floor bedrooms. This allowed for an open plan solution downstairs facing onto the garden, while providing for necessary service areas on the south of the building. Upstairs, bedrooms are protected from the sun using screening and roof overhangs. The simple structure of the plan allowed for the facade to be treated formally as a repeating column module, topped by a timber clad upper floor with openings limited to the northern face where possible. This simple articulation means that the house has a very intimate and easily understandable relationship with its front garden area, whose sub-tropical planting scheme serves to offset the regularity of the facade. This creates a private, sunny urban oasis for year round summer living.

Project Details

  • Client


  • Location

    Blockhouse bay, Auckland

  • Category



about us


WATGUNLOW Architects Ltd is the amalgamation of the talents and skills of Hamish Gunns and Kit Lowe. We run a small studio at the edge of the harbour in Auckland, New Zealand. We are committed to delivering intelligently conceived and well executed projects.

Design Philosophy

We look to the particularities of each project, its program, budget, physical and cultural contexts, to identify the most important issues to which the architecture responds. We bring a public mindedness to the work, with each project considered within its broader contemporary environment, its impact on the public domain, sustainability, infrastructure and landscape.


We are fortunate enough to have received a number of National awards, which is always humbling.

Best Design Awards - Gold

The Sub, Auckland.

Best Design Awards - Gold

NZ Wood Timber Design Awards - Interior Fit-out

NZ Wood Timber Design Awards - Sustainability


We are a NZIA Practice, and are Registered Architects.


+64 9 869 5340

Old Sofrana House, Level 3, 18 Customs Street East