Located in Waimarama, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, this modern family residence designed by Herriot + Melhuish Architecture makes the most of its magnificent beachside setting by incorporating large outdoor living areas into the design.The client sought a family house on the beach, with four bedrooms plus studio and study. In this coastal setting, sun, views and habitable outdoor spaces alternately protected from and catching sun and wind were a priority.
Combining a rational geometrical sensibility with a romantic attachment to the land and tradition, the house consists of two interlocking volumes: a white bedroom wing, loosely derived from the repetitious plan of ‘shearers’ quarters’, inserted into a double height 'timber ‘crate’. More than just a 'beach house', this is an all-year round dwelling.
However, the need to relocate the building if required ruled out concrete construction. Instead high levels of insulation, heat pump technology and solar panels on the roof, augment the large double glazed openings that capture sun and trap heat in winter, but cool through sea breezes in summer.
The composition of natural oiled cedar weatherboards, painted plywood and weathered zinc sheet both connects the house to the landscape and some older local traditions, but equally clearly sets it apart from much of the local built context. This is a house strongly connected to the land but prepared, if the sands and tides shift against it, to move.