Completed over 40 years ago, this house reflects the fruitful collaboration between Sang Architects and the original owner, internationally renowned photographer Brian Brake. Structurally ambitious, with influences from the Far East, the house is deftly positioned to make the most of views near and far.

Sheathed in weathered cedar, the house straddles a wet valley and stream, the bottom of which has been developed as a pond and water garden. The house floats above the mature bush with the north deck and Tatami Room supported on a single column. The theme of working with, not against the site, has been carried through the entire design.

Internally, most areas have views of the surrounding planting or the distant view back to Auckland as their focus. Informal linking of spaces with minimal corridors speaks strongly of the sophistication of the design.

An icon of New Zealand domestic modernism, the Brake House is the result of Ron Sang’s sensitivity to the design direction provided by Brian Brake, who had lived in Asia for many years prior to building this residence. Yet this is not some sterile, museum-like space – it’s actually a very liveable home. A house that is both of its time, and yet timeless.

Original photographs by Lloyd Park

New photographs by Frank Breslin


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