February 23, 2024


Giving your Home a new Option

Yolk House by Pac Studio

When a family of four asked Auckland-based design practice Pac Studio for help with a home renovation, the architects knew early on that the project would be a joy. “They are wonderfully funny people with a great outlook on life and great, eclectic taste,” says Pac Studio Director Sarosh Mulla of the clients. “From the outset, they wanted the project to be fun and unusual.” The clients’ energy ultimately shaped the design direction, which began with the selection of a single color: yellow.

“The high-gloss yellow imparts a warming reflection over the crisp white walls and the occupants,” says Mulla. “The result is a home that perpetually feels fun, warm, and friendly.”

A PH 5 Pendant Light by Louis Poulsen hangs above the dining table. Because the floor is bright yellow, all other surfaces and materials are more subdued—from the white walls to the American white oak kitchen cabinetry.

“Yellow is fun, yellow is warm, yellow is friendly,” explains Mulla, noting that the practice always tries to tailor each project to each client’s personality, as well as their pragmatic needs and budget. “There is something characteristically lovely about the color, and that’s a characteristic of the clients, too—a couple with two children who seem to be perpetually smiling. Their sunny disposition, adventurous spirit, and love of bold color was the basis for the design.”

The strand board floor is coated with a super-durable multilayer paint system. Its bright yellow hue ties together the new communal spaces, and it gave rise to the project’s name—The Yolk House.

But before the color yellow could take center stage, the architects had to first address the home’s shortcomings. Built in the 1940s, the suburban bungalow was poorly laid out for the family’s growing needs and was disconnected from the landscape due to a large vertical gap between the existing floor level and the garden.

“Most glaringly, the original bungalow had suffered an ill-conceived faux bungalow addition in the 1980s which had exacerbated some of the planning problems, while also introducing some technical problems,” adds Mulla.

Previously, the residents needed to go down a steep staircase to reach the garden. The new extension lowers the floor level to make the landscape much more accessible.

Glazed doors slide open to seamlessly connect the living spaces with the outdoors.

The deep roof overhang provides protection from the sun and bounces reflected yellow light from the floor.

Pac Studio started reconfiguring and expanding the house by replacing the poorly designed addition with a larger extension that holds a kitchen, dining, and living space and lowers the floor level to bring the house closer to the garden. The expanded living space also allowed the architects to create larger bedrooms for the clients’ two daughters.

Vitex decking by Rosenfeld Kidson lines the L-shaped deck.

Steps lead from the north side of the house to the deck and backyard.

Since budget was a challenge, cost-effective materials and careful proportional arrangements were critical to the project’s success. “We explored the use of everyday materials composed in fun ways,” says Pac Studio Director Aaron Paterson. “The yellow-painted strand board floor, plasterboard walls, and raw aluminum exterior all come together in a simple, but fun addition.”

The new west-facing extension is wrapped in a mill-finished aluminum skin that changes color throughout the day and seasons. In the summer, the silver facade reflects a rose-colored glow, and in winter it shines a cool blue.

“Mill-finished aluminum cladding was allowed for fast and efficient construction, and it also creates soft reflections of the garden and the ever changing color of the sky in its surface,” says the firm.

The metallic skin and white surfaces amplify the home’s radiant golden glow—even at night.

“Our favorite aspect of the project is the light effects created by the verandah, and the mill-finished aluminum,” says Paterson.

“With every project, we try and figure out a new way to manipulate light or shadow. The aluminum gives the most incredible light effects that change through the day and the seasons. When the sun goes down, you get this beautiful pink light across the western side of the house.”

The young lancewoods in the sunken garden to the right of the deck are among Mulla’s favorite features of the home. “They will eventually grow through an opening through the roof and add to the light display.”

“The void in the veranda and deck creates a spectacular shaft of light that cuts across the shiny aluminum surface, reflecting rippled patterns into the house,” adds Mulla.

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