Design Team: Stephen de Vrij and Michael Huh
Text description provided by the architects. Set at the foot of the Waitakere Ranges is a collection of timber clad, gabled structures. They slip past each other, opening spaces for courtyards, cooking, and fire. Exterior shells of native timber boards and shingle roof are founded overcast in situ concrete masses, bracketing the interior spaces within an adding weight and strength to the voluminous interiors.
The client had been collecting vintage timber for years, stockpiling from different parts of the country – large beams, pallets of native timbers – and he had a massive supply of totara. We thought we could build him a house that actually curates the timber collection. So there’s a patchwork of these different timbers and what we thought about is how to bring them all together tonally so it doesn’t end up a mess.
The timber, while it can be used to create solidity and warmth and mass, can also be incredibly fine and that is the tension we enjoyed playing with, and certainly enjoyed the result. While there are some very large and rustic elements, there is a fineness and a lightness to the enclosure and layering of it.
The roof is part of a translation of a palette of timber. The idea came to us early on: with such a strong mix of timbers, how can we use the timber as a roof? The roofs are the most dominant elements in terms of the forms of the buildings. So it allowed us to develop a strong sense of continuity between the different buildings.