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Not going downhill: Valley House

When the owners of the "Valley House" in Christchurch, New Zealand, come home, they are not going downhill but rising high, at least architecturally. And into a glazed and walk-in garage, in the middle of a quiet valley above the largest city on the South Island.

Text: Alfred Rzyski Photo: AO Architecture 20.08.2020 1 min

After the highs come the lows. But at the "Valley House" in Christchurch, New Zealand, the supposed opposites meet directly. On the one hand because of the special location of the building in a wooded valley, on the other hand, because of its style. It can be confidently described as high-class - and this is not only due to the 911 G model, which finds its place in the glazed garage. The design of the concrete exterior fa├žade also seems to follow the straight lines of the sports car classic. According to the creators of "AO Architecture", it obeys Le Corbusier's "Brutalism" school and is inspired by the favorite material of the French grandmaster. Situated between the treetops and a rocky slope, the aim is to contrast but also to complement the natural environment.

Inside, the two-story building is much less brutal but minimalist: the concrete, already visible on the outside, is combined with plain white walls, wooden ceilings, and large windows. The warm tones of the wooden ceilings are reflected in the furnishings: brown leather sofas, wooden shelves, a free-floating fireplace, and brass fittings create a pleasant atmosphere that guarantees privacy despite the large windows. Responsible for this is the location of the house and the adjacent trees.

In addition to its visual appearance, the building is also functional and sustainable, emphasize the architects: Thanks to the durable building material, it is to become home for several generations of the family and be passed on again and again. Together with the location on the rocky slope, the residents should also be prepared for possible earthquakes, which are always possible in New Zealand. Anyway, (good) vibrations are part of the concept - thanks to a walk-in garage and Zuffenhausen boxer sound system.