Inspiration

A Modern Jungle Treehouse with Ocean Views

Young Architects have designed a modern holiday home called the Ligar Bay Bach (‘bach‘ is a colloquial term in New Zealand for a small relaxed holiday home), located in the picturesque region of Ligar Bay, Tasman, New Zealand. This innovative project spans 163 square meters and presents a modern take on a jungle treehouse, perfectly suited for both the homeowner’s vacations and rental purposes. Having previous experience with design and construction, the clients provided a detailed request complete with imagery, prompting the architects to push the boundaries. The site posed significant challenges with its steep, unstable landscape, necessitating meticulous planning and design.

The layout of the Ligar Bay Bach encourages a sense of adventure, with movement between spaces resembling a journey through tents in a forest. Utilizing the natural elevation of the site, the stacked, glass-fronted pavilions offer unobstructed views of the coastline and ocean, fulfilling the requirement for separation and privacy.

A modern house with large glass windows and light wood paneling is set against a hillside with trees and clear sky in the background.

The design breaks up the building mass through the use of depth, transparency, and reflectance, while the materials – concrete, wood, and steel – are prominently showcased in both structure and finish. These locally sourced materials, including low-carbon Golden Bay cement and plantation-grown wood, contribute to the home’s minimal environmental impact.

A modern house with large glass windows set among trees, overlooking an ocean view. The surrounding land is grassy with shrubs and trees extending up a small hill.

Modern hillside house with large windows and a multi-level design, surrounded by trees, overlooking a beach with calm turquoise waters and a nearby road.

Thermal bridging is thoughtfully addressed to reduce heating needs, and passive cooling is met through the use of skylights that function as chimney vents, alongside opening doors to create breezeways.

A wooden entryway with a large glass door opens to a scenic view of the ocean and trees, framed by interior wood paneling and lit by natural sunlight.

The top pavilion is divided into two spaces with an open hallway in between, housing the primary bedroom on one side and the main bathroom on the other. The central path is flanked by floor-to-ceiling glass on both sides making it feel as if one is walking outside to access the other space.

A modern sunlit room with glass walls, featuring two chairs and a wooden floor, overlooks a scenic landscape with hills and a body of water.

Modern bathroom with two vessel sinks on a wooden vanity, large mirror, pendant lights, a bench, and a recessed bathtub. Floor-to-ceiling windows reveal a view of greenery and hills.

The primary bathroom comes with some of the best views, from both the inside and out, with an entire wall that is a window, offering sightlines of the water below. The space includes a sunken bathtub built into the floor.

A modern, wooden-themed kitchen and dining area with large windows offering a view of trees and the ocean. The room features natural wood furniture and large, dome-shaped hanging lights.

Flexible in design, the home features a main pavilion with two bedrooms adjacent to the kitchen, living room, and dining room. Future adaptability is built in, with provisions to add another bedroom on the bottom level if needed.

A modern wooden interior with large windows overlooks a scenic beach. Two unique, rounded wooden chairs are positioned near the entrance, adorned with flowing sheer curtains.

Outdoor patio with a round cushioned lounger, surrounded by a railing, overlooking a lush landscape and distant ocean under a partly cloudy sky.

A bedroom with a wooden ceiling, a cozy bed with pink bedding, a woven rug, and a concrete wall with a wooden handrail leading down wooden stairs.

A staircase leads to the lowest level where the carport, which holds up to three cars, and a mini outdoor kitchen live.

Outdoor wooden shower with a black showerhead and controls mounted on a light wood-paneled wall, surrounded by greenery.

Modern house with large windows and concrete structure. Outdoor area features gravel ground, a tree, two lounge chairs, and a red kayak. Background includes greenery and a partly cloudy sky.

Exterior shot of handmade outdoor staircase next to a house that's made of steel and stones.

scenic shot of a body of water with houses and tree-lined street in front of it.

Photography by Jason Mann Photography.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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