Judges commented, “Inspired by the flight of the tui, this house hovers over its site enabling its owners to scan for visual treats in the distance or to perch in a window seat to drink in the sun. The tui is never far from one’s thoughts in this house, whether it is as a pair flitting past one of several well-positioned decks or, as one looks up at the floating ‘Pacific fly’ roof overhead which are coloured to suggest the subtle green tones of bird’s feathers. The house is warm and visually rich, a perfect respite from all that happens in the busy city below.”

Wellington sites like this are a delight to discover and work with. The clients had lived in a state house for many years before deciding their future home needed to be warmer, lighter and more inspiring. With a brief that required natural materials and strong energy efficiency, they added the desire to make their home a sculptural element suspended in the bush-scape, to embrace and frame the outstanding views and a killer kitchen. We were chosen from a shortlist of architects for having a warm, contemporary and colourful aesthetic, with subtle detailing, generous use of timbers and a relaxed but evolved feel.

The concept design was inspired by the aerial dance of the tui that abound on this site perched on the edge of the town belt. The ceiling, with its composition of six different colour stained plywood panels, represents the incandescent colour one experiences as a tui dives past you in full flight. This sense of movement is echoed in the floating “Pacific Fly” roof. It starts true and square to the north and west and dips and twists to the south and east, reflecting the flight of the Tui.

This project was built by Planit Construction.


Winner: NZIA Resene Local Architecture Award 2013 (Residential)
Winner: NZIA Resene Local Colour Award 2013 (Residential)
Winner: Registered Master Builders House of the Year 2013
Winner: Resene Colour Award – Resene Interior Colour Maestro 2014


“We had a great site with a 270 degree vista, located in the hills of Melrose in the eastern suburbs of Wellington. But one of us was a stripped-back modernist, while the other was a woody, whimsical romantic. What to do? We interviewed several architects without gelling…. but in-depth conversations with John Mills resulted in a design that reconciled our mutual desires.”

John Mills Architects

21 Garrett Street,
Te Aro, Wellington 6011
+64 4 385 2255
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