Effective Green Building begins with thoughtful design. At Mercury Bay
Design we are re-imagining the building process through new technologies
and a better understanding of building design to produce homes
that have less impact, cost less to run and are more enjoyable
to live in. Better Homes by Design.
Tucked away from direct exposure to Whangapoua Beach, this project draws on history and location to create a holiday hideaway. The elevated site for this beachside escape has a long history of summer holidays, being one of several created from the original camp ground. Set next to a river with rural outlook beyond, the views preserve that holiday feel.
The design brief was to recreate the traditional Kiwi bach with a modern twist, to accommodate a young family, with room for guests to stay, providing places inside and out to enjoy the sun and the view. Warm and welcoming, the house should have plenty of storage for a family that enjoys the outdoors.
The site specific response was conceptualised as a framed courtyard, with the depth of each wing kept to a minimum in order to maximise frontage to the courtyard and easily maintain linkages to the river and rural views. Rustic exterior materials are selected as a direct reference the rural beach side location and the Kiwi baches that became such a part of our national psyche in the 1950’s – corrugated longrun roofing with ply and batten to walls, softened with a rich reddy brown stain.
And who can argue with happy clients - “We think the design of the building enables us to get the best from the site. It’s open, airy and light but immensely practical which makes living here an absolute pleasure.”
Opito Bay House
The owners of this property wanted to create a relaxed holiday home with space for visitors and boat that fitted with the established neighbourhood. The key defining feature of the site is the elevation, giving panoramic views of Opito Bay and the clear intention was to make the most of this advantage, by providing spaces to enjoy it inside and out. These priorities were underscored by their desire that the new home should blend into the coastal environment.
Nestled in its own small valley, the site is well set back from the beach giving it a
sheltered feel. My design response is based around the main floor conceived as two wings (one shared, one private) extended along an L shaped plan. These opposing
horizontals bring focus to the view by screening out areas to the East and South
where view is not available. The relaxed feel has been achieved by breaking up the building into blocks easily read from the exterior and the choice of longrun
roofing and painted weatherboard cladding has accentuated this, materials also
well suited to the harsh coastal conditions. Views are achieved by developing two
storeys, restricting glazing to strategic locations.
With a rare opportunity for views to both ends of Mercury Bay, the challenge in this project was to work with the site to gain the necessary height without sacrificing a connection with outdoor living. This has been achieved by stepping the house down the slope and incorporating a pool at the middle level.
The key client request was that the new home should blend into
the coastal environment, using the nautical theme of the bay as
a style cue. The intended use as a family holiday home should
be reflected in the layout and mix of spaces and their relationship
to the site. Also stressed was that every opportunity to maximize
the view should be taken, while balancing this with the need for
The building blends well with the coastal character of the bay
in several ways. The cladding is Hardies Linea giving a traditional
weatherboard look. Decks are timber with a stainless steel balustrade
softened by the use of zigzag wire as the infill material. The
nautical theme has been achieved by the use these materials, complimented
by the bow shaped deck and porthole window for the front door.
This project features in Issue 21 of Homestyle Magazine.
Beach Road House
This family beach
house features an open plan living area with Kaiaua stone fireplace
as the heart of the house. Privacy from the busy road is acheived
by the change in level from the street, also enhancing the view
from the main level. The bedroom wing is separated by a glazed
stair well, making for comfortable accomodation for large number
of the holiday period. Materials were carefully selected to match
the harsh environment and match the character of the area.
For this project I was awarded winner of the First Time Entrant
category of the Waikato/Bayof Plenty ADNZ 2006 Awards and second
place in the First Time Entrant category of the ADNZ 2006 National
Awards. Judges comment: “Design successfully meets the needs of
maximizing plentiful bed accommodation and communal open plan
living suited to a beach environment. Forms well handled with
good detailing for the decks, stonework, stairs & interior.”
Alterations & Additions
Centennial Drive House
A once humble blockwork bach, this home now commands views over
Mercury Bay from an addition that maximises the potential of the site.
This project has featured in Homestyle Magazine.
These are some recent projects I have enjoyed collaborating on.