Thursday, 03 December 2020


Local beach houses stand out in architecture awards

Three Mercury Bay beach houses are among the winners in the 2020 New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) Awards for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty.

The regional honours were officially announced at the end of June and, if shortlisted, the winners may be considered for the national awards which will be judged later in the year. A total of five out the 14 awards in the Housing category came to the wider Coromandel aea, with properties at Hikuai and Bowentown also selected.

“Light Mine” at Kuaotunu, added to its list of credits having already secured the title of HOME Magazine’s Home of the Year for designers Crossan Architects. “Externally clad in reclaimed totara, three separate living spaces are unified by uniquely sculptural, off-grid skylights projecting above the roof, referencing the mine shafts of this former gold-mining town,” the judging panel noted. “Inverted into sculptural shafts, the skylights allow sun and starlight to enter each room, and they also function as thermal shafts. The highly crafted timber interiors of this private sanctuary open out to expansive views of the sea.”

The relationship with its surrounding beach and ocean landscape was a crucial element in the critique for the Scarlet Architect’s Hot Water Beach house. “In response to the orientation, slope and unusual shape of this site, this home is organised around a triangular courtyard flanked by verandas and a central breezeway,” the judging panel commented. “As a result, sea views are available from every space, maximising the home’s connection to its environment. With its predominantly dark exterior and elemental interior scheme of pale timbers, this house is a worthy replacement for an old family bach and should ensure flexible occupancy by multiple generations for many years to come.”

Hill House at Hahei stood out to the judges for its quirky clever design courtesy of Felicity Wallace Architects. “The architect’s response to a brief for a pole house has resulted in a holiday home that winds its way up, over and through a grid of variable-height tanapoles,” the judging panel said. “Part fort and part tramper’s hut, the robust house is playful and surprising, revealing and concealing views over Hahei and the headland. With its series of indoor and outdoor spaces punctuated by poles, the design succeeds as a strong and idiosyncratic shelter against the elements.”

Pictured: Photo left - “Light Mine” at Kuaotunu by Crosson Architects. Photo centre - Scarlet Architects’ Hot Water Beach House. Photo right - Felicity Wallace Architects’ Hill House.


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