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A camp to call home

A competition designed to showcase the very best residential architecture in the country gave accolades to just a handful of great designs. Among the finalists in this year’s Annual Home NZ Home of the Year Awards were two homes by architect Daniel Marshall. 

Judges said his design for Korora - a holiday home on Waiheke - overcame severe planning restrictions but the constraints are not at all evident in the design. “The house isn’t afraid to exert control over the experience of the site, but it does so mainly with the intent of accentuating the appreciation of the place. Daniel Marshall’s strength is that he knows when to leave you alone to simply sit in the sun on the crest of a hill to gaze at the view and experience some of the simple pleasures in life.” (Home NZ Sept 2010) 

This week, Daniel Marshall gave a talk and presented many images showing the building’s progress, to explain how he arrived at an exceptional result.
 

“A ridge stretching between the Hauraki Gulf and the pastoral landscape of Waiheke Island provided a stunning, and challenging, context in which to design a home.
 
“Our approach was to work within the contour of the ridge, as an attempt to minimise the impact on the landscape. A landscape wall, clad in local coloured stone, splays out from the main plan form, providing a point of entry to the house, and allowing the excavation that drops the garage below the ground line. The house hunkers down against the wind.
 
“Ascending the stair, one reaches the house via a courtyard. The plan form of the house is spaced between two courtyards, which are bridged by a gabled roof stretched across the long axis. The courtyards provide the opportunity to shelter from either of the two dominant winds.” 

It was always Daniel’s intention to use a fairly limit palette of construction materials. And those that he has chosen provide a link to Waiheke’s baches from the past and iconic surrounding built forms.

“The materiality of the house draws on two architectural conditions of Waiheke, the masonry forms were inspired by the gun emplacements of Stoney Batter. The use of cedar and plywood reflect precarious weekenders of the island’s past.”

Unlike many of the recently built homes on Waiheke, this one doesn’t dress up with slick landscaping. It’s all decidedly simple. A sweep of lawn is shell steps wind up between retaining walls. Even the swimming pool is uncharacteristically restrained. For the clients, who are returning to live in New Zealand after a long period in Asia, want an easy reconnection to the landscape they love.