A Considered Interception – Birch Park by Matter Architects
Auckland, New Zealand

Photography Simon Devitt & Jackie Meiring
Architecture Matter Architects
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Combining heritages of Chilean and Japanese design philosophies, the pavilions that comprise Birch Park intercept its site, allowing access to nature and a free-flowing movement between. Matter Architects propose a robust and textural multi-generational home that embraces its siting and expresses the natural.

Located in Auckland, a process of close collaboration and multiple iterations sees Birch Park emerge from a tightly woven and multi-layered brief. Designed as a home for multiple generations, the intention was for the spaces to cater comfortably for its current owners, their children and their parents at any one time. Family and connection are at the core of this home, and the creation of open and flexible spaces allows a multitude of interpretations to unfold in the process. Instead of presenting as one mass on site, the resulting vernacular takes reference from both Japanese and Chilean design philosophies and an expression of construction and rudimental elements becomes a defining factor. Matter Architects combines a series of pavilions on site that navigate the site in a way that allows movement and an expressed individuality between each.

As an expression of strength and the inherent qualities of its parts, the internal insertions and custom designed joinery elements are founded on principles of honesty and rawness, over concealment.

With interiors by Bespoke Interior Design, Birch Park is a considered effort of bringing together the needs of its many users. Sitting long and weighted, the home offers itself as a contrast to the natural and more organic and untamed elements it sits amongst. The linear nature of the home allows for a simplified approach to planning to direct the resulting arrangement and further allow for flexibility.

Restrained cut-outs into the whole allow for an uninterrupted visual extension of the views to be brought inward. The regularity and rhythm generated as a result is conducive to the controlled natural of the overall home. The multiple levels are expressed through a horizontal expression, further breaking down the mass. The lower level is comprised of long and linear brickwork to further reinforce a flattening of the form across the site, which is then brought inward, expressing the hand-made building blocks on a human and interactive level. Clad in warming timber, the upper level then floats in a light-weight way, as the outpost looking out over the site.

The lower level is comprised of long and linear brickwork to further reinforce a flattening of the form across the site, which is then brought inward, expressing the hand-made building blocks on a human and interactive level.

Birch Park is a story of contrasts and deliberate restraint. In its controlled engagement with the site, and an awareness of the need for flow and movement, Matter Architects has created a home lasted to resonate well beyond its time, as it was intended.

Published 18 April, 2021
Photography  Simon Devitt & Jackie Meiring
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