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Timber Design Awards

Patuwai House

This project is for a beach house by the Estuary on southern side of Whangamata.

This project is for a beach house by the Estuary on southern side of Whangamata.

This has been a holiday destination for the past 45 years & has a special place in our hearts.

The client wanted something different. Definitely not square, boxy & white, grey or black. The ability to retire too and to have the family for the holiday breaks. Mandatory daily walks on the beach during our younger years formed family bonds, shell collecting, drift wood and being part of nature. Discussions about sustainability was discussed, so the use of local labour & services where possible, locally grown timber and good use of valued timber were possible.

From this the project inspiration was taken as the house as shell on the beach, with the shell like roof sitting on a living roof. Broken pieces of sea biscuits break the lower roof to let the sun penetrate deeply into the space in the winter. The plan concept was based on an internal shell structure and nature where nothing is square or equal etc. The chaotic form of nature on the plan translates to comfortable spaces inside. Inside with pitched roofs giving glimpses out to the pohutukawas & sky, massive opening doors allows the connection with the outside and nature.

Timber was always going to be a main feature, pinus glue laminated beams predominate the structure, curved for the roof. Douglas fir sarking, Macrocarpa board & batten cladding and finishing timbers. Heart Rimu is reused from the house removed from the site for the stairs and benches through the house. Grandfathers bequeathed timber of Rewa rewa & rimu also are used in the house. Rimu & cedar composite windows & doors, cavity sliders continues the timber theme and flexibility. The use of imported timber especially rainforest species was not considered and Cedar only due to no other alternative.

The Engineers brief was no external bolts or brackets to connect the beams. This was solved with threaded rod and buttons to hide the tensioning nuts, & washers. The beams are not simply supported, but interconnected and supported in various ways as would be in nature to achieve a fabric to create spaces inside & out. The bedrooms upstairs have curved sarked ceilings, curved beams sailing over glass window corners. This gives a boat like feeling and the views are framed with the curved soffits of the roof.

The timber is has added value for the aesthetics of being with nature, warmth of the spaces not mention the smell that the house has. By using NZ grown timbers enabled the budget to be met and the knowledge the timber is of NZ and therefore belongs.