- Collaborators:Welhaus – Welstruct
- Contractors:Carl O’Neill Builders
- Country:New Zealand
Text description provided by the architects. Enveloped by dense native forest-covered mountain ranges, through the last bridge towards a small East Coast town on New Zealand’s North Island, the Karangahake House sits on the edge of a plateau that rolls off into a steep valley below. Surrounded by 3600 views of neighbouring farmlands, it is completely secluded with endless green plains and big blue skies. Orientation was key to maximize Northern views of nearby ranges and Mt Te Aroha (Love Mountain) across historical gold-mining gorge and Eastern views down to a winding river. Meticulous spatial design created vignettes to crucial scenic moments of these surroundings, with a specific client request to capture the Western setting sun behind Mt Karangahake, enjoyed right from the dinner table.
The simple Vernacular form sits humbly in the farmland setting, recalling the local Coromandel Region’s rich forestry history and New Zealand’s hiking culture. Clad in locally grown and sustainable vertical timber shiplap with eco-friendly natural wood finish, the exterior will grey in the years to come, revealing a rustic silver, reminiscent of classic ‘Kiwi Tramper’s Huts’.
The tight budget and the 100m2 footprint challenged us to obsess over details, precise spatial designs, and the distilled essence of living simply. Our 5m wide gable roof design provides a long extruded form that minimizes internal circulation space without compromising easy family living. The main house, with a double height open living and kitchen area, a mezzanine above two double bedrooms and a bathroom, is connected by the Outdoor Room, to the guest bedroom/office with another bathroom and laundry/mudroom. The mezzanine offers an open versatile gathering space to accommodate impromptu friends and family visits. A covered verandah traces the house, much like a second hallway, to provide relief from the summer heat runs and melts into the hillside landscape.
The Outdoor Room, enhances the simple barn form, creates opportunities for flexible engagement directly between the owners with both their home and the environment. A large custom sliding barn door is able to shut out strong hilltop winds to a private moment with nature herself. Clear roofing above floods the space with soft batten-filtered light during the day, and glows like a lantern at night, recalling memories of the welcoming glow of a nightlight guiding tramper’s home.
MAKE challenged typically wasteful, costly and arduous construction processes, collaborating with local partners at ‘Welhaus,’ pre-fabrication provided the ideal solution to meet our efficient, economic and eco-friendly architectural values. Pre-designed floor, roof and wall panels were pre-constructed then assembled on-site in just four days to allowed for swift joinery installation and external and internal linings to follow. This process resulted in near 0% on site-waste, a huge reduction of transport pollution, time and labour economy and efficiency as well as contributing positively to our collective community views on prefab home construction. The house features an airtight building wrap that pairs with the rigidity of fully plywood lined interiors and tilt-and-pivot joinery, as well as a sustainable ventilation system to create a warm, quiet and healthy family home.