The house at Wharewaka is to be a meeting place for family from across the North Island. It is essentially a ‘bach’, but it also needs space - the brief was to accommodate an extended family made up of 18 people so far and still growing. It needed to be of good quality, but not fussy, raw materials forming the finished surface, rather than being polished and buffed by construction processes. Cracks and material imperfections were permitted, luxury was not.
There were a number of iterations of the house. It started out larger with more extensive decking. The design was pared back. It needed to take advantage of the site and the covenant that prevented the adjacent houses closer to the lake from building above 5 metres. Therefore it needed to have an upstairs to watch the lake and the mountain. The children needed to be able to get outside to the cricket/football pitch, degrees of outside were created from the sleeping quarters.
The accommodation approach was marae-style sleeping. However comfortable the family were with that, the partners need their space. The exercise then became slicing up the sleeping quarters into flexible bed platforms that could be loaded with mattresses and children, or quickly rearranged to provide a comfortable double bed, with storage under for extra mattresses, and a space for bags and a ‘bedside table’ at the foot of the bed. Sliding screens then form adjustable walls, and ventilation ensures rooms are warm and dry year round.
Upstairs is the meeting space. There is direct contact to the kitchen below which easily houses 5 or 6 occupants working together, and the volume opens up to accommodate the numbers around the dinner table. This is where the form becomes manifest inside - the volume is fully inhabited.