Feature article

Living on the edge: New Zealand's best clifftop homes

Here are five stunning clifftop homes where the house and dramatic surroundings combine to striking effect.

Last updated: 1 February 2024

1. Bowden House by Belinda George Architects

Belinda George perhaps took an unorthodox approach to the design of Bowden House. On the edge of a cliff near Tutukaka, instead of welcoming in the views of the sea below, the home turns its back on the coast to embrace the nursery bush to the north of the site. The curved home nestles into the landscape, rather than perches itself on the edge of the drama below.

Bowden House by Belinda George Architects. Photography by Simon Devitt.

2. V House by Studio John Irving

A bit casual and a bit dramatic is how V Beachhouse has been described. This design by Studio John Irving combines the identity of the clifftop edge and those who dwell inside. Standing high above Waipu Cove, this home beacons the adventurer with small glimpses of the sea below, before the house steps down the site to offer all-consuming views.

V House by Studio John Irving. Photography by Simon Wilson.

3. Pomare Bach by RTA Studio

In designing for a difficult, yet awe-inspiring site looking over Pomare Bay in the Bay of Islands, RTA Studio made a radical decision to split this bach in two. Due to the constraints of the complex alignment of the entrance and the view, the idea of two pavilions was established, with a decked courtyard between.

Pomare Bay Bach by RTA Studio. Photography by Patrick Reynolds.

4. Lantern House by Herbst Architects

On a steep cliff overlooking Onetangi Beach on Waiheke Island, this home extends over the cliff, rather than pulling back to the shelter of the hill. With views out to the peaks of Coromandel, the site falls victim to prevailing winds so the architects proposed settling the outdoor area between the shelter of the land and pavilion, allowing the view to be framed by the picture window in the living area.

Lantern House by Herbst Architects. Photography by Jackie Meiring.

5. Muriwai House by Julian Guthrie

On a cliff above Muriwai Beach’s famous gannet colony, this site plays witness to magnificent views and spectacular storms. Due to the exposure on the site, Julian Guthrie designed a thick concrete wall to anchor the home to the cliff, allowing for the rest of the house to hang delicately off it.

Muriwai House by Julian Guthrie Architects. Photography by Patrick Reynolds.

This article was originally published on homemagazine.nz.


Clare Chapman
Clare Chapman
Editor in Chief, HOME - homemagazine.nz

Clare has spent the last 16 years working across Australasia as a journalist, editor and writer. Her work has appeared in books and publications around the world. Clare has led editorial teams for numerous architecture and design publications. In 2020, she was appointed Editor in Chief of HOME magazine, before taking the helm as publisher in 2023.