Family Living Around The Pool


The clients Margaret and Murray Bond purchased this small life style block on the edge of Cockle Bay, Auckland because of it's position and views. The site is a hillside paddock, accessed by a ridge track with grassy south facing slopes that fan out towards a lower edge of native bush. There is a prominent Pohutakawa tree that marks the sites eastern boundary, and adds to the sites relaxed coastal feel. The site has panoramic views of Whitford, the Maungamaungaroa
Valley and out towards Auckland City.

Margaret and Murray required a large home that provided the maximum amount of accommodation for their family. They needed plenty of living areas that allowed for the spatial dynamic of different ages of children and adults. They also wanted a large outdoor entertaining space (including a swimming pool) that was easy to use, and made the most of the views. The cladding had to be durable and easily maintained, and most importantly the house had to be affordable.


The budget provided a rigorous discipline to the design response; we examined and simplified those elements that form a large modern family house. To avoid extensive earth works the garage was located closest to the existing track. The bedroom and service facilities were zoned to the north along the spine of the house connecting the living areas with an enclosed 'veranda' and opening on to a central deck.

The deck area is flanked east and west with the two living areas, which are visually connected, yet acoustically separated. The elevated pool is central to the house lay out; totally private and secure yet open from all aspects of the house and the view.

The sites location was interesting, being between suburbia and the rural belt. This periphery context is expressed by the cowshed vernacular with an industrial functionality. The long access driveway skirting around the paddock contours, terminating at the houses level platform, like the last stop on a country railway line. The horizontal 'spread' of the site is expressed in the building's form, the curved walls create confident 'ends' to the house.

The house's structure is essentially a pole platform, so to avoid the building floating in space, the wall cladding was continued to the ground, 'anchoring' the house to the site. This also created a huge sub-floor space for storage. Zincalume® corrugated sheet was chosen as the main roof & wall cladding for its rigidity, self cleaning nature and its aesthetic qualities.
With the cladding around ground level being subject to boisterous kids as well as the occasional grazing stock the rigidity of the corrugated sheet is important. The wall cladding was fixed vertically because of its flexing capabilities, lining the curved walls comfortably.

Flashings were detailed in a robust 'agricultural' fashion for two reasons.  Firstly to suggest a connection to the rural buildings across the valley, and secondly to provide effective weathering to a building that has no eaves. The clean roof forms and minimal eave treatment in an exposed environment allows for natural rainwater washing of areas that normally accumulate atmospheric pollutants.
The finished house has become an enjoyable home for the Bond family, encouraging the out door living that is part of the Auckland lifestyle.

Mark Gray Architect

Mark Gray started his practice in 1993, and initially specialised in residential work in his 'native' Howick, Auckland. Often undertaking different projects with repeat clients, the range of work has grown to include holiday homes, multi-unit developments, light commercial and sports facilities and various educational buildings.

“The practice philosophy is based around listening to the client. There is always something unique to the client and something unique about the site, the challenge is to express that in an innovative and practical way.”

From 1996 his practice has made a big commitment to cad software, enabling all staff members to model projects from modest alterations to multistory apartments. Computer modeling enhances communication between the client and the design team, allowing exploration of new and different ideas.

The practice recently opened a second office, in Queenstown, which Mark manages, while Jeff Stuart runs the Auckland office. “Because our work is all around New Zealand, opening a second office allows us to explore regional differences in design and building technologies.”

Client: Murray & Margaret Bond

Mark Gray Architect
Telephone north: 09 5347 478.
Telephone south: 03 441 1014
w w w . m a r k g r a y. c o . n z

Consultant Engineer:
Tom Donald
MSC Consulting Group Ltd.
Ph 09 486 2210

Main Contractor:
Nigel Greaves
Suburban Solutions Ltd.
021 770 008

Roof and Cladding Manufacturer:
Metalcraft Industries Ltd.
Telephone: 09 273 2880