Beachlands House - Donnell Day Architects | ArchiPro

Beachlands House

Established in the 1920s, the outer-Auckland suburb of Beachlands experienced massive growth in the 1950s when its popularity as a beachside destination exploded. Baches and holiday homes proliferated and today, a permanent population of more than 6000 call the suburb home.

Development is ongoing and new parcels of land are still coming on stream.

“This site is in an established part of Beachlands from that boom time in the 1950–60s,” says architect Lisa Day.

“Like many of its neighbours, the site had a family bach on it and initially we considered a possible renovation project, however, further investigation revealed that that would not be viable.”

The owners were able to sell the original bach, which was subsequently taken off the site.

“They had owned the property for a number of years and so had a good understanding of how the property functioned across the year, which was invaluable information in crafting the design for the new house. Likewise, there were aspects of the original cottage that the clients really loved and which we incorporated into the design, such as the multiple levels giving different aspects of the views.”

Programmatically, the house is two, connected pavilions, one for the owners to retreat to and one that contains the public spaces and guest accommodation.

“The concept for this beach house was around creating a journey, that surprises and delights, through three main ideas: a classic, simple form to the exterior, with rich interior space sequences; fine textural detail using a restrained palette of traditional materials; and, spatial contrast between rooms—whether through light and shadow, texture, proportion or form,” says Lisa.

“In our studio, we’re really interested in the tactility of materials as well as the play of light over different surfaces. We try, through our designs, to engage all of the senses, including aural.

“Two weatherboard-clad core stairwells access the upper floors, with skylights that penetrate into each gable roofline. These are not only way finders within the house, as light is cast against internal weatherboard walls, but also act as a means of passive cooling. To maintain a sense of clarity, there are clear-axis organisational principles. The journey to the varied vertical levels and rooms offers contrasting spatial experiences, but you are never ‘lost’ within the house—you are always only a step away from a sightline axis toward the main vaulted living room or towards the sea.

“The palette is carefully refined and limited to a few classic materials and tones. We wanted to champion simplicity and clarity in the detailing—there is a certain elegance in not ‘shouting’—but at the same time offer a rich tactile experience every day.”

Lisa says the exterior presents a simple form, in reference to the original dwelling, which is quite deceptive as it sets you up to expect one thing but then, once inside, the house takes you on an entirely different journey.

“The home is designed to have a modest proportion from the road perspective with a low entry approach. But from the seaward elevation, balanced against the scale of the cliff, the house unfolds into a larger form, with a generous covered deck in front of the living room.

“Not surprisingly, the original bach had had many alterations and additions over the years yet remained quite closed off. With this new home, we have opened up the forms, along with the connection to the site, so that now, wherever you are in the home there is always some form of connection to the sea.

While it is clearly a new home, the incorporation of classic elements lends the sense of the home having evolved over time, much like Beachlands itself. The home is at once, unexpected yet familiar also.

Awards:
Silver award at the Master Builder’s House of the Year 2020

Words by Justin Foote.
Photography by Jessica Chloe Photography.

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Beachlands House
Gable forms and darkly painted weatherboards reference the bach that had previously stood on the site for more than 50 years.
Programmatically, the house is two connected pavilions, accessed by weatherboard-clad staircases.
The interior palette was deliberately kept sparse to allow the spaces to command attention and to set up a relaxed vibe.
The shift in ceiling form follows the brief for the house to take visitors on a journey that steadily unfolds the views through a series of curated sightlines.
A variety of spaces have been created that allow for group gatherings or silent contemplation, each with access to the ever-present view.
The darker palette of the kitchen, along with the lower ceiling height, allows it to recede into the space, once again directing people's attentions towards the views.
Simple forms combine with detailed textures to create a very tactile experience within the home.
Skylights above the stairwells ensure ample natural light floods into every level of the home as well as acting as passive cooling elements.
One pavilion provides sanctuary for the homeowners while the other houses the public spaces and guest accommodations.
Muted colours and natural materials help lend the home the 'Cape Cod' feel the owners wanted.
The palette of subtle tones and textural elements continues in this ensuite bathroom.
A bank of bifold doors provides seamless egress to the outdoors from this bedroom suite. An elevated viewing platform is the ideal spot to watch the world go by.
The original bach had had many alterations and additions over the years but still remained closed off. A big part of the brief for the new house was for there to always been some form of connection to the sea.
The home has been designed to have a modest proportion from the road perspective with a low entry approach. But from the seaward elevation, balanced against the scale of the cliff, the house unfolds into a larger form, with a generous covered deck in fron

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