Island Retreat / Fearon Hay Architects

© Patrick Reynolds

Architects: Fearon Hay Architects
Location: , Auckland,
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 375.0 sqm
Photographs: Patrick Reynolds

This retreat for a family is an arrangement offreestanding structures around a courtyard, set in asaddle above Matiatia Bay. The environment of WaihekeIsland can be idyllic, but also inhospitable with exposure to northerlies and southwesterlies of the Hauraki Gulf.The natural undulations of the saddle have been subtly emphasized to form a protective setting for threestructures, a pool and the open spaces between.


Conceived as a camp, the architecture has developed direct references from this typology. Individual roof planescover the three structures, each separately housing thefunctions of living, sleeping and studio. These drapedplanes are tensioned over rough concrete forms embeddedin the undulating contour.

© Patrick Reynolds

The concrete forms enclose service spaces associated with each activity, while an arrangement of retractable glass panels and perforated aluminium screens offer variationsof enclosure to living and sleeping space.

© Patrick Reynolds

This layered enclosure, the thermal mass of the concreteconstruction and inclusion of solar energy generation,rainwater harvesting and onsite waste water managementensures that minimal demand is made on resourcesoutside the site.


While the materials respond to the environment with robust toughness, this is countered by the placement offires, an invitation of leather cushioning around a sunkensitting area and use of linen fabrics and oiled natural timber throughout the spaces.

© Patrick Reynolds

The retreat offers simultaneous exposure to, and protection from the elements. The architecture balancesraw material with tailored comfort and intends to providethe family with richness of experience during their time on the island.

© Patrick Reynolds
Cite: "Island Retreat / Fearon Hay Architects" 25 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>