Tuesday, 22 January 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Out-of-this-world award-winning home built by locals

On first impressions, it almost looks like a house that has arrived from another planet with its protruding legs and feet landing perfectly in one of the most idyllic settings in the country.  

Out-of-this-world in design and build quality the house certainly is, but this Otama landmark was built by local building company Percival Construction, which is owned by Whitianga resident and passionate builder Damian Percival and his wife, Rekha.

The two-bedroom 130m² north facing beachside holiday home is nestled into the hills and has been perfectly placed to capture both the sun and idyllic views. It was designed and built as a retreat for a couple living in New York. The architect was Auckland-based Ken Crosson of Crosson Architecture.

In the recent Registered Master Builders House of the Year awards which celebrates building excellence throughout New Zealand, the house won the judges over completely as it collected not only a regional gold award in the New Home Over $2 Million Dollar Category, but also taking out the overall national award for Outstanding Craftsmanship.

In addition, the home, known by some as the DNA house, picked up the Special Feature Award. It is a new award given at the discretion of the judges for a specific outstanding project or element of a project that they feel is worthy of recognition. In other words, a home that has that WOW factor that is hard to easily describe or put into words.

In their comments regarding the Outstanding Craftsmanship award, the judges said, “When you fully understand the client’s brief and consider the close location and exposure to the panoramic ocean views, it becomes immediately obvious the architect and builder have achieved an innovative and stunning result for this beachside holiday home. A demanding and difficult build, the craftmanship can only be described as perfection. This was a house we did not want to leave. Congratulations to a young and very capable builder.”

In their comments regarding the Special Award the judges said, “Aptly named the ‘DNA House,’ Percival Construction have described it as an exercise in contrast, delight, strength and elevation. [We] agree, … the architect and builder have achieved an innovative and stunning result for this beachside holiday home.”

The reason for the very unusual DNA House name is because of a series of bifold perforated metal screens which appear to wrap themselves around the house when it is unlived in or when certain weather conditions prevail. They are there to also serve as a light filter and to provide an element of privacy. The random looking perforations of the screens are, in fact, based on the coded DNA patterns of the owners’ family, which brings a unique personal touch to the house.

It took 18 months to complete the build, which Damian says was full of challenges, but also one of the best projects he has ever been involved in. “It is certainly not an overly large house by today’s standards, but because of its unusual architectural design, nothing was that straightforward,” he says. “Despite the head scratching at times and occasional sleepless night, everything about the build went relatively smoothly. We used local tradespeople wherever possible. From the location itself, to the uniqueness of the build, all those involved had a feeling of belonging. It was something of a sad day when it was time to down tools and hand over the keys to be honest. Winning these awards was truly the icing on the cake for the team and for us and is testimony to the quality of all the carpenters and subcontractors involved.”

While the multi-storey house itself sits on a small footprint, it is extremely practical. The lower level contains two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Open-air soaking can be enjoyed from the comfort of a freestanding tub, while timber-lined walls provide warmth, softness and a feeling of enclosure. A floor hatch with a rope ladder provides a direct link between the bottom floor and the beach. A set of suspended stairs lead up to the uncluttered living zone. Expansive decking around the house enlarges the open-plan living with good shelter provided by large roof overhangs.

There is even a generous parking pad for the family vehicle with unobstructed views out to sea. It certainly provides a great way for the owners to arrive at the beach - take a moment to soak in the atmosphere before even stepping out of the vehicle.     

A big part of the initial attraction of this house is its out-of-this-world look, but it is certainly a house that fits the environment it sits in perfectly. For the owners, it is their special private place, while for those who view it from a distance it has simply become part of the wider landscape, but with a special genetic family history to talk about among other things.       

Picture: The “DNA House” at Otama Beach that was built by Percival Construction of Whitianga.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.