Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects - Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Tauranga
Clifton Hill House Exterior Stairway. Christchurch architect
Clifton Hill House Exterior. Christchurch architect
Clifton Hill House Lounge. Christchurch architect

Clifton Hill House


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Residential Process

An award-winning addition to a modernist home in Sumner, Christchurch, originally designed in 1965 by Austrian architect, Ernest Kalnins. HMOA's additions were a finalist in Home of the Year, 2013.

Commanding spectacular views over the Pacific Ocean and Christchurch city, the house had previously been used only for holidays. Our brief was to convert it into a comfortable and contemporary, permanent home. The project encountered a number of hurdles along the way, not least the two Christchurch earthquakes, but the challenges, coupled with a close and trusting client relationship, only enriched the outcome. A careful balance was found between retaining the integrity of the original design, and many of its key features, while fulfilling the needs of our clients for a dream home to retire to.

"The architects have recognised the power of the original dwelling and the passion of its owners with judicious replanning to provide a better flow and use of spaces while retaining the integrity of the original design ... (they) have dealt extremely well with an interesting set of historic preconditions and a difficult, steep site  ... a delightful solution for the house’s owners," NZIA Awards Jury, 2013.

"A bold, modernist statement that stood out for its streamlined use of concrete, steel and glass, it was a handsome building then – sturdy yet somehow ethereal – and it is as valid and arresting today, from a respectful three-year renovation project led by Duval O'Neill," Adrienne Rewi, Modern, NZ Homes from 1938 to 1977

Photos: Russell Kleyn.
Awards: NZIA Local Award 2013; HOME New Zealand Magazine, Home of the Year 2013 Finalist.

The internal layout was reordered to provide more open plan space over both levels, with shared circulation zones and large timber and glass sliding doors adding to the sense of roominess. An elegant suspended timber staircase was added. A restrained palette of materials including Blackwood and Tasmanian Ash timber veneer, full-height glass, and natural black mild steel gives a warm, crafted feel to the interior.