Enhancing views with the natural beauty of concrete.

18 October 2022 / Case Studies

The dramatic use of concrete, extensive glazing and timber accents are the order of the day in this stunning family home nestled in the hills above Christchurch’s seaside suburb of Sumner.

With an outlook that takes in the Pacific Ocean, Christchurch City and the Southern Alps, it comes as no surprise that the design brief to Young Architects was to “make the most of the views”.

All well and good.

But the fact that the home is perched on the edge of a 30º slope at the end of a narrow, winding road meant some clever thinking was required, both in terms of getting the house built and keeping ongoing maintenance to a minimum.

Young Architects chose Béton Brut for the home’s structure and facade.

Translated directly from French to English, Béton Brut means “raw concrete”.

“Concrete was a necessity on such a steep site,” explains Greg Young of Young Architects. “It’s both strong and resilient.” It also has great thermal mass properties, storing heat from the afternoon sun to create a cosy indoor environment.

Using precast concrete for the build was out of the question. Narrow lanes and tight corners would have made it impossible to get the panels to the site.

Instead, the concrete structure was made in-situ.

“It worked out really well,” says Greg. The textured formwork has a lot of “variation, depth and natural beauty. At first glance, it looks like timber as you’ve got the timber grain coming through. It’s quite deceptive.”

This marrying of timber and concrete makes an equally dramatic impact in the home’s interior, with its use of western red cedar and polished coloured concrete.

“We wanted a very natural palette,” Greg says.

The floors in the living spaces use PeterFell 699, which, as Greg explains, is a colour that is “deep and rich”.

This same rich hue is carried through the stair treads and the hearth mantlepiece of the outdoor fire.

PeterFell colours won’t chip, fade or wear away. That’s because the colour oxide is mixed through the concrete itself, rather than being a coating that sits on top.

This durability happens to align nicely with an important consideration for this home – to create a functional family environment.

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Another example of this is the use of PeterFell C2 Polished Concrete Flooring in the living areas.

C2 improves on the natural beauty of concrete, while making it more durable, hardwearing and stain resistant – perfect for the wear and tear of a busy family home.

Silicate-based densifiers are used during the grinding and polishing process when the floor is installed. A unique liquid hardener penetrates deep into the pores of the concrete, making it harder for water, oil and other contaminants to get in.

A special microfilm provides the finishing touch, creating a protective coating that is literally melted into the concrete for increased stain resistance.

The end result is a concrete floor with a superior polish that’s easy to clean – which also nicely meets the owners’ requirements for a low maintenance home.

The balance between capturing those magnificent views while creating a functional family home in a structure that brings texture, concrete and timber into perfect alignment is what the team at Young Architects is most proud of.

“It’s a home that when you visit, you don’t want to leave,” says Greg. “It just feels right.”

We have an extensive range of colour options available, plus you can order free samples to help you make your final decision.


Architect: Young Architects

Photography: Lightforge Photography