Almost more a portal between dry land and the waterfront, this beach house in New Zealand is designed with deference to the amazing seaside view defined by an interplay of solid structure and void space. A balance of turf and surf is visible even from a distance on approach to the dwelling – like a whole-wall landscape painting with a thin dividing horizon line.
The see-through living room area features full floor-to-ceiling openings on both the front and back of the home, affording a clear line of sight between the beach and the hills behind the building when the doors are open. When closed, the entire mass becomes a relatively unremarkable object on the seashore.
Known as Coromandel Bach, the house itself is a simple one-story residence – a modern box with rustic natural materials that make it mistakable for a humble shack from the distance despite the refined rooms found inside. This modest vacation home is naturally heated by the sun in the winter and easily cooled with crosswinds in the summer.
“The house was conceived as a container sitting lightly on the land for habitation or the dream of habitation,” say the architects. “The intention was to reinterpret the New Zealand building tradition – the crafting of wood – the expression of structure, cladding, lining and joinery in a raw and unique way.”
“The construction is reminiscent of the ‘trip’ or ‘rafter’ dams common in the Coromandel region at the turn of last century. Heavy vertical structural members supporting horizontal boarding. The unadorned natural timber, a sustainable and renewable resource, provides a connection to nature and the natural.”
“A simple mechanism to the deck allows the ‘box’ to open up on arrival – providing a stage for living – and to close down on departure – providing protection. The house has a simple rectangular plan that sits across the contour in a patch of cleared bush in the manner of the rural shed, facing north and the view.”