Ken Crosson: Designing for passions

Ken Crosson: Designing for passions

The process of designing a home is more fascinating if the homeowner has a special passion – an art collection, a favourite sport, or a love of music, wine, food or cars…

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

In designing a house for a client, architects delve into the homeowners’ wants and needs, their close relationships and the way they live. But the process is even more fascinating if they have a special passion, whether it be a collection of art, a favourite sport, or a love of music, wine, food or cars… the list is endless. We spoke with architect Ken about some of the passion projects he’s designed for clients.

Ken Crosson, the founder of Crosson Architects, has a passion for things Italian – from Alfa Romeo and Maserati cars to Vespas and wine – although he is most well-known for co-hosting The New Zealand Home television series and for The Hut on Sleds, a moveable tiny home/bach that was published all around the world. A number of Ken’s clients’ passions have inspired their houses, including a musician’s favourite classical piece of music, a shoe-loving artist, a boat builder who worked on Americas Cup yachts and a collector of famous New Zealand art.

“It’s about designing for people and their passions but it’s also about placing a narrative – something of the client and the context – into the design,” explains Ken. “It’s a broad direction that we like to explore and, through that process, the design fits completely with that client and the context. We also investigate the history of the site, including Māori, Pākeha and geological history. We try to find the gems in those that will start the discussion. Ultimately, it’s about being respectful of the client and so on, and embedding those aspects into the house."

Bach Bach is clad in vertical cedar battens that form a pattern which replicates the rhythmic structure of a phrase from the owner’s favourite Bach concert.

The home of a musician is clad in vertical cedar battens that form a pattern that replicates the rhythmic structure of a phrase from the owner’s favourite oboe concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach. The house is appropriately titled ‘Bach Bach’. Even the interior of the house received the 'Bach' treatment, with similar vertical timber battens used on the linings, along with spaces provided in the  interior layout for both music making and appreciation. “To everyone else, it’s a house with timber battens but, to the client, it’s her favourite piece of music and she can play it off the walls, quite literally!” says Ken.

The shoe-loving owner of Red House comes from a family who once owned a leading New Zealand fashion shoe brands, Marler, and, as a consequence, a large collection of memorabilia from the shoe business. “The owner had a series of cabinets, shoe racks and shelves that she wanted to incorporate into her new home,” he explains. “It’s a maximal rather than a minimal house because it accommodates all of her things. We couldn’t use some of the

 

shelving as furniture so we refashioned it for the kitchen and the television cabinet from repurposed timber and, architecturally, we’ve used the strips to look like the old drawers. Overall, it tells a reinterpreted story of her family history and a part of New Zealand’s fashion history as well.

The boat builder’s waterfront house, known as FE3O² House, is a distinctive asymmetrical gabled form that appears to glow like a lighthouse at night; a references to its owners, a couple with a special love and connection with the ocean.

“The house is reflective of the building forms – largely gabled – in the bay that it overlooks, so we reinterpreted a gable,” says Ken. “The house looks, perhaps, like the rusty hull of an upturned boat so it has a series of meanings as well. We also wanted the house to blend in with the colours of the local landscape – the coastal rocks and clay headlands – so, it reflects its context as well as its Americas Cup client.”

Recrafted Arts House caters to its owner's passion for NZ art

Meanwhile, Recrafted Arts House is an arts and crafts home (circa 1910s) that has been recently restored and extended to provide suitable spaces for the owners’ extensive and extraordinary art collection. “The owner has an absolute passion for contemporary New Zealand art so we designed the spaces like galleries,” explains Ken. “They aren’t overburdened with sunlight so you can protect the art from our harsh sun. The gallery spaces occupy the background areas where there is south-facing diffused light and they allow you to see the art as collections, which was especially important for one particular groups of paintings so they can relate and talk to each other.”

More recently, one of Ken’s clients commissioned a house designed to overlook a glass-topped garage so he could admire his Maserati sports car collection. Sadly, for Ken – whose own passion is for all things Italian and Italian cars in particular – the project never came off. “I’m a bit of an Italophile, which is really about design,” he says. “Italian style is part of their DNA – it’s embedded in them and captured in their products, cars, art, architecture and furniture.”

“A car is where art meets engineering, so it’s fit for purpose as well as looking good. It tells the story about a way of living.” Ken is particularly keen on Alfa Romeo and Maserati, due to their endless connection with design and dedication to beauty and refinement. “A car has to perform but look beautiful as well and that’s our ethos with house design. It doesn’t have to cost more; it’s purely about thought,” he says.

“The importance of beauty is essential for a fulfilling life and should be part of our everyday living: our food, wine, clothes, art and architecture. Everyone has a passion and a story to tell and we like to embed those stories in our houses.”

 

The banner image shows FE3O² House, which reflects its owner, an ocean-loving boat builder.

Photography by Simon Devitt and Jason Mann (Bach Bach).

The artist's studio in Red House, Titirangi.

Crosson Architects

Crosson Architects is an Auckland based architectural practice with an exceptional portfolio of work. Past projects include residential, commercial, institutional,...

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Ken Crosson: Designing for passions

Ken Crosson: Designing for passions

The process of designing a home is more fascinating if the homeowner has a special passion – an art collection, a favourite sport, or a love of music, wine, food or cars…

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

In designing a house for a client, architects delve into the homeowners’ wants and needs, their close relationships and the way they live. But the process is even more fascinating if they have a special passion, whether it be a collection of art, a favourite sport, or a love of music, wine, food or cars… the list is endless. We spoke with architect Ken about some of the passion projects he’s designed for clients.

Ken Crosson, the founder of Crosson Architects, has a passion for things Italian – from Alfa Romeo and Maserati cars to Vespas and wine – although he is most well-known for co-hosting The New Zealand Home television series and for The Hut on Sleds, a moveable tiny home/bach that was published all around the world. A number of Ken’s clients’ passions have inspired their houses, including a musician’s favourite classical piece of music, a shoe-loving artist, a boat builder who worked on Americas Cup yachts and a collector of famous New Zealand art.

“It’s about designing for people and their passions but it’s also about placing a narrative – something of the client and the context – into the design,” explains Ken. “It’s a broad direction that we like to explore and, through that process, the design fits completely with that client and the context. We also investigate the history of the site, including Māori, Pākeha and geological history. We try to find the gems in those that will start the discussion. Ultimately, it’s about being respectful of the client and so on, and embedding those aspects into the house."

Bach Bach is clad in vertical cedar battens that form a pattern which replicates the rhythmic structure of a phrase from the owner’s favourite Bach concert.

The home of a musician is clad in vertical cedar battens that form a pattern that replicates the rhythmic structure of a phrase from the owner’s favourite oboe concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach. The house is appropriately titled ‘Bach Bach’. Even the interior of the house received the 'Bach' treatment, with similar vertical timber battens used on the linings, along with spaces provided in the  interior layout for both music making and appreciation. “To everyone else, it’s a house with timber battens but, to the client, it’s her favourite piece of music and she can play it off the walls, quite literally!” says Ken.

The shoe-loving owner of Red House comes from a family who once owned a leading New Zealand fashion shoe brands, Marler, and, as a consequence, a large collection of memorabilia from the shoe business. “The owner had a series of cabinets, shoe racks and shelves that she wanted to incorporate into her new home,” he explains. “It’s a maximal rather than a minimal house because it accommodates all of her things. We couldn’t use some of the

 

shelving as furniture so we refashioned it for the kitchen and the television cabinet from repurposed timber and, architecturally, we’ve used the strips to look like the old drawers. Overall, it tells a reinterpreted story of her family history and a part of New Zealand’s fashion history as well.

The boat builder’s waterfront house, known as FE3O² House, is a distinctive asymmetrical gabled form that appears to glow like a lighthouse at night; a references to its owners, a couple with a special love and connection with the ocean.

“The house is reflective of the building forms – largely gabled – in the bay that it overlooks, so we reinterpreted a gable,” says Ken. “The house looks, perhaps, like the rusty hull of an upturned boat so it has a series of meanings as well. We also wanted the house to blend in with the colours of the local landscape – the coastal rocks and clay headlands – so, it reflects its context as well as its Americas Cup client.”

Recrafted Arts House caters to its owner's passion for NZ art

Meanwhile, Recrafted Arts House is an arts and crafts home (circa 1910s) that has been recently restored and extended to provide suitable spaces for the owners’ extensive and extraordinary art collection. “The owner has an absolute passion for contemporary New Zealand art so we designed the spaces like galleries,” explains Ken. “They aren’t overburdened with sunlight so you can protect the art from our harsh sun. The gallery spaces occupy the background areas where there is south-facing diffused light and they allow you to see the art as collections, which was especially important for one particular groups of paintings so they can relate and talk to each other.”

More recently, one of Ken’s clients commissioned a house designed to overlook a glass-topped garage so he could admire his Maserati sports car collection. Sadly, for Ken – whose own passion is for all things Italian and Italian cars in particular – the project never came off. “I’m a bit of an Italophile, which is really about design,” he says. “Italian style is part of their DNA – it’s embedded in them and captured in their products, cars, art, architecture and furniture.”

“A car is where art meets engineering, so it’s fit for purpose as well as looking good. It tells the story about a way of living.” Ken is particularly keen on Alfa Romeo and Maserati, due to their endless connection with design and dedication to beauty and refinement. “A car has to perform but look beautiful as well and that’s our ethos with house design. It doesn’t have to cost more; it’s purely about thought,” he says.

“The importance of beauty is essential for a fulfilling life and should be part of our everyday living: our food, wine, clothes, art and architecture. Everyone has a passion and a story to tell and we like to embed those stories in our houses.”

 

The banner image shows FE3O² House, which reflects its owner, an ocean-loving boat builder.

Photography by Simon Devitt and Jason Mann (Bach Bach).

The artist's studio in Red House, Titirangi.

Get in touch with
Crosson Architects

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Recommended reading
Done tagging
Full screen
Ken Crosson: Designing for passions

Ken Crosson: Designing for passions

The process of designing a home is more fascinating if the homeowner has a special passion – an art collection, a favourite sport, or a love of music, wine, food or cars…

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

In designing a house for a client, architects delve into the homeowners’ wants and needs, their close relationships and the way they live. But the process is even more fascinating if they have a special passion, whether it be a collection of art, a favourite sport, or a love of music, wine, food or cars… the list is endless. We spoke with architect Ken about some of the passion projects he’s designed for clients.

Ken Crosson, the founder of Crosson Architects, has a passion for things Italian – from Alfa Romeo and Maserati cars to Vespas and wine – although he is most well-known for co-hosting The New Zealand Home television series and for The Hut on Sleds, a moveable tiny home/bach that was published all around the world. A number of Ken’s clients’ passions have inspired their houses, including a musician’s favourite classical piece of music, a shoe-loving artist, a boat builder who worked on Americas Cup yachts and a collector of famous New Zealand art.

“It’s about designing for people and their passions but it’s also about placing a narrative – something of the client and the context – into the design,” explains Ken. “It’s a broad direction that we like to explore and, through that process, the design fits completely with that client and the context. We also investigate the history of the site, including Māori, Pākeha and geological history. We try to find the gems in those that will start the discussion. Ultimately, it’s about being respectful of the client and so on, and embedding those aspects into the house."

Bach Bach is clad in vertical cedar battens that form a pattern which replicates the rhythmic structure of a phrase from the owner’s favourite Bach concert.

The home of a musician is clad in vertical cedar battens that form a pattern that replicates the rhythmic structure of a phrase from the owner’s favourite oboe concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach. The house is appropriately titled ‘Bach Bach’. Even the interior of the house received the 'Bach' treatment, with similar vertical timber battens used on the linings, along with spaces provided in the  interior layout for both music making and appreciation. “To everyone else, it’s a house with timber battens but, to the client, it’s her favourite piece of music and she can play it off the walls, quite literally!” says Ken.

The shoe-loving owner of Red House comes from a family who once owned a leading New Zealand fashion shoe brands, Marler, and, as a consequence, a large collection of memorabilia from the shoe business. “The owner had a series of cabinets, shoe racks and shelves that she wanted to incorporate into her new home,” he explains. “It’s a maximal rather than a minimal house because it accommodates all of her things. We couldn’t use some of the

 

shelving as furniture so we refashioned it for the kitchen and the television cabinet from repurposed timber and, architecturally, we’ve used the strips to look like the old drawers. Overall, it tells a reinterpreted story of her family history and a part of New Zealand’s fashion history as well.

The boat builder’s waterfront house, known as FE3O² House, is a distinctive asymmetrical gabled form that appears to glow like a lighthouse at night; a references to its owners, a couple with a special love and connection with the ocean.

“The house is reflective of the building forms – largely gabled – in the bay that it overlooks, so we reinterpreted a gable,” says Ken. “The house looks, perhaps, like the rusty hull of an upturned boat so it has a series of meanings as well. We also wanted the house to blend in with the colours of the local landscape – the coastal rocks and clay headlands – so, it reflects its context as well as its Americas Cup client.”

Recrafted Arts House caters to its owner's passion for NZ art

Meanwhile, Recrafted Arts House is an arts and crafts home (circa 1910s) that has been recently restored and extended to provide suitable spaces for the owners’ extensive and extraordinary art collection. “The owner has an absolute passion for contemporary New Zealand art so we designed the spaces like galleries,” explains Ken. “They aren’t overburdened with sunlight so you can protect the art from our harsh sun. The gallery spaces occupy the background areas where there is south-facing diffused light and they allow you to see the art as collections, which was especially important for one particular groups of paintings so they can relate and talk to each other.”

More recently, one of Ken’s clients commissioned a house designed to overlook a glass-topped garage so he could admire his Maserati sports car collection. Sadly, for Ken – whose own passion is for all things Italian and Italian cars in particular – the project never came off. “I’m a bit of an Italophile, which is really about design,” he says. “Italian style is part of their DNA – it’s embedded in them and captured in their products, cars, art, architecture and furniture.”

“A car is where art meets engineering, so it’s fit for purpose as well as looking good. It tells the story about a way of living.” Ken is particularly keen on Alfa Romeo and Maserati, due to their endless connection with design and dedication to beauty and refinement. “A car has to perform but look beautiful as well and that’s our ethos with house design. It doesn’t have to cost more; it’s purely about thought,” he says.

“The importance of beauty is essential for a fulfilling life and should be part of our everyday living: our food, wine, clothes, art and architecture. Everyone has a passion and a story to tell and we like to embed those stories in our houses.”

 

The banner image shows FE3O² House, which reflects its owner, an ocean-loving boat builder.

Photography by Simon Devitt and Jason Mann (Bach Bach).

The artist's studio in Red House, Titirangi.

Get in touch with
Crosson Architects

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Done tagging
Full screen