The Eastern suburbs of Auckland is a dream location to build a house for an architect, with wealthy clientele and views of the harbour within reach. Trained in the modernist disciplines of the Bauhaus through his education in Prague, Czech architect Vlad Cacala brought this progressive design language to Brenner Associates who he worked with from 1952–59. It was during this period when he created this incredible home.
Up at the top of a cul de sac road in Kohimarama, the exaggerated rectilinear form of Tapper House sits proud of the supporting structure and gives a floating appearance. From the road you can see the full height, sliding door windows which are evenly divided with a grid-like structure and given detail with the white wooden joinery. It feels stylish and contemporary even in the 2000s era, almost sixty years on.
The simplicity of the form is given layers and depth with the materials used throughout the interior. A two storey stone wall spans both floors of the home, introducing the theme of natural, local material beauty. The wall leads to all the public spaces on the upper level and creates division for the dining and lounge rooms. Inside is incredibly calming – tongue in groove wall panelling and gleaming old growth timber flooring are met with seagrass wallpaper and the intelligent use of light which enhances the sense of structure.
It's very rare for us to come across a home of this scale or location and see it functioning with an original 1950s kitchen. This is one of the most charming elements of the home, with a fairly compact space decorated in a blue, yellow and white scheme to match the tone of the outside colouring. It came complete with a wall mounted can opener and just enough space to put a fashionable Smeg fridge.
It will be interesting to see how this home evolves to meet the needs of future families when it passes to new owners and if alterations can remain sympathetic to the intentions of the architect.