The rare modernist house from the 1960s by architect Vladimir Cacala has lost none of its importance
Modernist architect Vladimir Cacala, who arrived in New Zealand from Czechoslovakia in 1952, designed some of the country’s most coveted mid-century homes.
They have stood the test of time as wonderful examples of international modernism – whenever a Vladimir Cacala home comes up for sale, you can be sure throngs of architecture lovers will be the first to walk through the door.
Cacala, who trained under Bauhaus mentors in Prague, designed tall, long houses that were the opposite of the gabled shapes that were common at the time. His homes were often built on sloping lots, with the living area on the upper level, with huge glass doors opening onto a long balcony.
Built in 1960 at the bottom of Victoria Avenue in Remuera, Auckland, the owners of Kay House have effectively transformed their Vladimir Cacala home into an art gallery. The modernist design and white walls provide a perfect backdrop for an array of modern art and some mid-century furniture.
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One of the owners admits that this was one of the reasons the house attracted her nine years ago, along with the architectural history and location.
“We love the mid-century architecture and we love the light-filled rooms with their large floor-to-ceiling windows,” she says. “There is a great flow through the house and out onto the decks which is great for socializing. There is sun all day. It’s the lightest and warmest house I’ve ever lived in.”
Like many Cacala homes, this 607-square-foot, four-bedroom home has a grand foyer (entrance is on the upper level) where the art is first introduced. This leads to a large living area which opens onto a long balcony. Two large bedrooms also open onto the balcony.
But there is also a second, much larger deck off the family living area and kitchen to one side. A few wide steps lead down to a putting green.
On the lower level there is a third living room, which leads directly onto a terrace, as well as two further bedrooms and the showpiece, a 12 meter pool.
“It was fantastic with teenagers,” says the owner. “They could have their own space and bathroom and shower downstairs and not interfere with us. The downstairs living room opens directly onto the pool – it’s compliant.”
The proximity to a beach a few houses away was another plus – the owners affectionately call the house their “Remuera Beach House”. “We spent a lot of time down there with the kids, the paddle boards and kayaks and my little dog.”
But now the owners want to downsize. “We’ve spent more time in lockdown with us in the north. It’s time to downsize and play more golf.”
The property was originally built for the parents of former Auckland Mayor Colin Kay.
It was listed by Rawdon Christie and Steve Hood of Barfoot & Thompson Remuera. It will be auctioned on July 6, 2022.