Architecture at its best

Rural life doesn’t necessarily have to mean rustic, as the recent Auckland Architecture Awards illustrated. Five of the most up to date and cutting edge dwellings that won housing awards were built in local country and coastal communities, from Mahurangi West up to Langs Beach.

Judges said the building boom that has gripped Auckland in recent years was reflected in the number of award winners this year – 45 in 2017, compared with 32 last year – and that quality was extremely high across all 12 categories (commercial; education; heritage; enduring architecture; hospitality and retail; housing, housing alterations and additions; multi-unit housing; interior architecture; urban design; public architecture; and small projects).

Matakana House

Glamuzina Architects & Paterson Architecture Collective

This holiday home on farmland just to the east of Matakana was praised for “one of the most architecturally exciting handlings of a corner seen in many years”, with judges declaring “the sculptural ease of the northern corner as it turns to the east is masterful both inside and out”. The control of light, the use of gradients, steps and rises, and provision of children’s spaces were also mentioned, with the design said to subtly revisit 1960s architecture throughout.

Inland House, Mangawhai

Gerrad Hall Architects

The judges praised the “playful and nostalgic mix of classic barn and vertical forms” and the way this modern rural farmhouse complex of three buildings near Mangawhai was arranged with the landscape, rather than on it. “Slow reveals and vistas have been crafted from an experiential understanding of moving across and through the site. Inside, layers of darkness and illumination provide deeply personal spaces alongside shared areas, an experience enhanced by the selection of materials.”

Point Wells Gables

Paterson Architecture Collective, Steven Lloyd Architecture & Glamuzina Architects

Three barn-like buildings, all timber-lined and linked via courtyards and boardwalks, make up this property in Point Wells. Award judges applauded the home’s scale and arrangement of the three buildings as evoking a “village-like” feel.  “Privacy and intimacy are created throughout the interior and exterior spaces of this home. The simple structural expression is enhanced with a range of timbers, detailed with unexpected delight.”

Pukapuka Road House

Belinda George Architects

This Mahurangi West property is architect Belinda George’s own home, completed in collaboration with her furniture maker husband David White and very much a labour love. The awards jury said the construction and placing of small and separate barn-like forms created “a charming and soulful home and workplace”.
“An earthy and warm interior contrasts with carefully selected and framed vistas out to the working rural landscape. Light floods in at the gaps between the obliquely-arranged barn forms, emphasising the richness of the river timbers used in each contained and calm living area.”

Langs Retreat

Wendy Shacklock Architects

This alteration and extension was designed to enhance and update a holiday home at Langs Beach designed by Lillian Chrystall in the early 1990s. Judges said the design had successfully opened previously unused areas and aspects of the site, bringing “a sense of the theatrical” even to daily tasks and proving that, when done well, minor intervention could be as powerful as large scale redevelopment.
“The addition is an assemblage of three inverted spaces, packed tightly, but each with an orientation independent of the other. With ‘their backs to each other’, the spaces each provide an elevated platform,” the jury said.


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