John Mills Architects

Waikawa Home

Winner: NZIA Resene Local Architecture Award 2005 (Residential)

The Waikawa home began with a clear and concise brief and a lot of stories from various sources, which began the fabrication of a history that eventually crystallized into the bach as it stands.

There was, in some part of the history a caravan and a boat, a local shop and other bach and beach objects. Access to the site was also the reason for the first sealed road trial. Not to mention sand and sun and an old house that had seen many years of fun and enjoyment and is now a garage and an all-important shed.

The plan was developed from these ideas of a street intersecting a house. This meant we could work confidently on the spatial flow and forms that were initially derived loosely on the notion of cupped hands holding precious objects.

Our street metaphorically begins at the highway and ends at the beach, passing through the village on its way. We introduced board walks of layered floating decks at either end to merge landscape with house, using ‘found’ objects as steps and yet to be built pergola frames to transit the walker from outside to in and out again.

The street was in one variation a light glass canopy providing a tenuous bridge between the two strong forms that house the public and private activities. On one side is the long form, or boat, with three sleeping rooms and private addresses, and parked on the other side of the street is the caravan, housing living and utility rooms with public addresses.

It is a wonderfully pleasant home to be in; spacious with vaulting curved ceilings and a strangely private feeling while still remaining very open.