Another house that attempts to respond to where it is, is the Glenstrae Road house.

This house sits on a saddle with stunning views both down to the estuary and Pacific Ocean one way, and the city with the Southern Alps in the distance the other.

An earthquake rebuild gave the chance to rethink the design of the previous house.

Instead of a single larger block, the rebuilt structure was split into two blocks with a three-level glass fronted atrium between, sitting on a local rock wall base.

Being on a ridge the design attempted to be reminiscent of the crags and stone buttresses that punctuate the skyline of the crater rim behind, in an abstracted form.

By digging in to form the garage and entry, this cut was clad in stone as if exposing the rocky bedrock beneath the surface.

Also, instead of the floor to ceiling panoramic glass rooms so common as a response to breath-taking views, this house frames the view from the rooms inside with strongly outlined windows.

Very vertical with interesting views and connections between all of its three levels via the central atrium, it feels like a house on the hill climbing up and down and full of intrigue.

As a pair of connected masonary towers built and engineered to last, it is a haven to shelter and live inside on the hills, and view and enjoy the impressive surroundings all around through dramatic picture windows.

Jasper van der Lingen is a director of Sheppard & Rout architects. Jasper is particularly interested in how buildings are integrated into a context and help form the unique identity, memory and cultural setting of a place. He was the Chairman of the New Zealand Institute of Architects Canterbury branch from 2010 to 2012 and is currently a member of the Christchurch Council Urban Design Panel. Visit www.sheprout.com

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