Wharepapa - Aspect Architecture | ArchiPro

Wharepapa

The owners of this property in the Wairarapa are the owners of the farm on which this bach sits. They wanted a place to retreat to, to enjoy the solitude the site afforded. Given the exposed nature of the site, the house needed to perform well in all types of weather, particularly strong winds.

“The brief formed from a discussion around capturing a sense of retreat, of wanting to capture views of Mt Matthews and of the structure needing to be robust and light-filled—the rest was left to us to create a functional but stylish bach,” says Victoria Read, Director of Aspect Architecture.

“They also wanted something that sat within the rural context and that looked like it had been there ‘forever’. We went with a grey stain on cedar cladding to give it a ready-made weathered look, while the form itself looks like two farm sheds that have been built up against each other.

“The result is a house of two halves; the first—the living areas—is light and airy and open to the elements. The second—the bedroom wing—is more subdued and cocooning, as befits a space designed for sleeping.

The variety of timber sizes used on the cladding does indeed give the impression that the building has evolved over time—as materials became available—rather than being built in one piece, making it subtle in its design.

The clients’ primary residence is a large, two-storey homestead, so for this property they wanted it to be the opposite of that—compact, yet with a feeling of spaciousness when in the rooms, as well as being light and airy inside, says Victoria.

“It is, essentially, a beach house so we have used good quality materials and have kept them really simple and pared back. Blonde Ambition ply on the ceiling adds a subtle, textural element to the interior scheme, while the polished concrete floor helps the structure to feel connected to the land, with a result that is timeless in its design and highly functional, with an easy flow between spaces.

“Given both the remote nature of the site and its exposure to the elements, one of the key design drivers was around maximising passive solar gain. The floor acts as a heat sink with big windows on the northern corner to capture the northern sun. The home is also insulated to within an inch of its life and there is a Studio fireplace for additional heating.

“There was power and spring water to the site but we did have to install a specialist septic system.”

“In keeping with the desire for a simple, natural feel, we have tried to use locally sourced products as much as possible and environmentally friendly timber stains. Similarly, there are no unnecessary inclusions, the home is the very opposite of technology, there isn’t even any cell phone coverage—it is truly an escape from the outside world.

“We have concentrated on providing the clients with the practicalities needed in a comfortable manner—the house is very strong, to stop it from blowing away; durable, to stand up to the southerly storms that roll in from the Pacific Ocean; thermally efficient for comfortable, year-round living; and equally functional for two people or 10.

“For me, the standout features include the use of greenheart timbers, the quality of light in the main room and the connection to the surroundings and to the broader environment. Also, the outdoor bath is a stroke of genius. This part of the Wairarapa region is a dark sky reserve and the clients use the bath all the time. I would highly recommend incorporating one into any home.”

Words by: Justin Foote
Photography by: Andy Spain Photography

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The owners of this Wairarapa farm wanted a place to retreat to so they could enjoy the solitude this remote and exposed site afforded.
The brief called for a structure that sat within the rural context and that looked like it had been there ‘forever’, says the architect, who designed the bach to look like two farm sheds that have been built up against each other.
As per the owners' wishes, the variety of timber sizes used on the cladding does indeed give the impression that the building has evolved over time—as materials became available—rather than being built in one piece, making it subtle in its design.
Passive environmentally sustainable design principles, such as maximising solar gain, were one of the key design drivers. Large windows around the northern corner of the home capture all-day sun.
The design of the house needed to be robust enough to withstand the southerly storms that roll in off the Pacific Ocean but warm and inviting enough to allow the owners to take advantage of the natural elements, too.
The client's primary residence is a large, two-storey homestead, so for this property they wanted it to be the opposite of that—compact, yet with a feeling of spaciousness when in the rooms, as well as being light and airy inside.
It is, essentially, a beach house, says the architect: "So we have used good quality materials and have kept them really simple and pared back, with a result that is timeless in its design and highly functional."
Blonde Ambition ply on the ceiling adds a subtle, textural element to the interior, while the polished concrete floor helps the structure to feel connected to the land.
Originally designed as a two-bedroom bach, an additional bunk room was added to the design scheme so that the owners' grandchildren could spend time there as well.
In keeping with the desire for a simple, natural feel, locally sourced products and environmentally friendly timber stains, were used as much as possible.
The neutral palette extends to the bathrooms, which are almost austere in their simplicity, yet this is tempered by the use of plywood accents.
The area in which the house is situated is a dark sky reserve, allowing the owners to revel in the wide open heavens above.