Total Colour Award winners

Rhodes House – 'Cabinet of Curiosities'


The brief was to design a new home on the site of the previous home, which was lost in the Christchurch earthquakes. The home needed to house the client’s large art collection and achieve their desire to challenge local architectural conventions.

The result is a cabinet of curiosities, housing the collections, archiving the lineage of the site and referencing local and international architecture. A Home for art, art as Home.

Rhodes House – 'Cabinet of Curiosities'
Dining room
Kitchen benches

Composed as gable pavilions with a gold clad box balanced above, the space between forms a central gallery and circulation. A collection of painted characters shade this space, digitised as perforated steel screens. Pavilions are compartmentalised into a series of living scales, from the large kitchen dining space, to the reclusive homage room. Reinterpreted parameters of lost spaces, previous stud height, the glazed dining roof and excerpts of colonial language set the tone for the new form.

Window and wall detail
Entryway and stairs
Entryway and stairs
Sitting room with wooden ceiling
Lounge area with wooden ceiling

Playing with duality and the subversion of conventions, traditional local architectural typologies meet contemporary form and materiality. The project appropriates local architectural references of heavily figured concrete work from the 60s and 70s and international architects Scarpa, Siza, Scharoun and Shinohara. A home as a cast, forming something other, something new.

The interior palette of the home is a direct reflection of the materiality and tones of the exterior bringing in the dark moody blue/basalt and black/grey concrete colours from outside.

The base wall colour of the interior was chosen as Resene Quarter Black White, with interior joinery in Resene Half Black White to give a subtle contrast between hanging surfaces and bespoke built objects. The interior palette is kept to a minimum as art is to be at the forefront.


Architectural features are expressed through textured floor surfaces such as terrazzo tile and timber flooring, oak skirtings finished in Resene Colorwood Reducing Base with brass inlay details and battened cedar ceilings with the plywood stained in Resene Colorwood Pitch Black and the battens finished in Resene Colorwood Reducing Base.

Textural elements are highlighted as non-art areas with complementary colour shifts through paint and wallpaper, using a palette of Resene Nocturnal, Resene Delta and Resene Double Stack, all tinted into Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen). The paint hues in each room are derived from adjacent surfaces/tones and tie throughout the entire project.

Lighting and ceiling detail

Architectural specifier: PRau Ltd
Building contractor: Bradfords Building
Client: Janice Cowdy
Painting contractor: Bradfords
Photographer: Hazel Redmond
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2018

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Resene Total Colour Awards 2018


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