KAIPARA HOUSE / Kaipara

KAIPARA HOUSE
 
Kaipara
— NZIA Award 2008 / Award for Architecture 2008
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The clients, a courageous couple in their late 70s, initially wanted a modest house that would “look like a Lockwood”. This concept evolved over time to produce a home that was much more responsive to the rugged west coast site and could be used for a small or large extended family. Relaxed and natural, it is a response not only to both site and brief, but also to the area’s history. 

The entrance to the Kaipara harbour is a dangerous place – it was the burial ground for many ships in the early days of trade and settlement. Remnants of many of these vessels remain. As a response, the house is conceptually a number of upturned hulls submerged in the sand – “rusting” hulks which continue to weather in this harsh coastal environment.

This idea is explored within the plan with irregular shapes and spaces – one can imagine these having been shifted and morphed by time and tides. The experience of the landscape is manipulated by various relationships to the outside: withdrawn, immediate and projected.

The cladding of weathered copper reinforces the notion of the temporal and the developing of a patina over time; in places, the cladding is cut away to reveal the timbered interior of ply sheets and glulam structural frame. This portal frame is reminiscent of the early structure of sailing ships, colliers and coastal trading vessels of an earlier time, handmade and solid. 

In this way the house is an exploration of the notion of form-finding as opposed to form-making, of the idea that an appropriate architecture emerges out of its context.