Text description provided by the architects. The property is located in the Wairau Valley, 10 minutes from Blenheim and close to the Wairau River as it snakes along the edge of the northern hills, a patterned rural landscape of farms, orchards, and vineyards.
The owners were keen on a house that had a connection to the land spatially and materially. They were interested in occupying the site with a sense of encampment, where different interlinked pavilions offered different areas of occupation and privacy or openness.
We housed the spaces beneath low sloping gable forms and looked to blur boundaries between the land and building. Heavy linear concrete walls feel part of the land and are used to define indoor and outdoor spaces. The gable roofs float over these to provide shelter and the comforts of home. The landscape is cultivated; lines of orchard trees and vines mark the land in regular patterns and the house responds with the lines of pergolas and posts ready for planting to integrate the house with the land further still.
The predominant materials used in the main spaces are concrete and Eucalyptus Saligna, which have been detailed and crafted to articulate the forms clearly and give a warm, engaging and natural feel.
To provide an economy to the construction the east and west end gable forms use standard truss roof construction and the spaces are lined in gib board, whereas the main spaces are more athletic and lofty where the family spends most of their time.
Originally published January 17, 2013.