Minimal Lines of Modernism – Shark Alley by Fearon Hay
Great Barrier Island, New Zealand
Perching overlooking a secluded bay, Shark Alley sits atop a rugged cliff-face, as a place of refuge from its harsh conditions. Fearon Hay has proposed a streamlined retreat that engulfs the surrounding uninterrupted views.
With minimal neighbours, and uninterrupted surrounds, Shark Alley truly is an enviable abode. Its remote location and access to such abundance of the natural world at its literal doorstep makes it a place of escape, and also immersion. To leverage and maximise such a unique location, Fearon Hay insured all views outward remain unobstructed, with thin window frames and mullions and an aligned column and structural skeleton. The form sits anchored on one edge and cantilevered on the other, referencing the form of viewing decks and jetties, acting as a transitional threshold between land and sea.
As the coastal home for its family, the internal floor area reaches approximately 250 square metres in total. As the structure embraces its location, it almost deliberately defies its location by not adopting the traditional holiday home aesthetic. Holiday homes were once a place of recluse and detachment from refinement in a re-engagement with a raw and unmaintained series of materials and the associated lifestyle. This home brings the high-level of execution associated with a permanently occupied home through finishes, planning, furniture, appliances, fittings and fixtures without compromise. Along with this defiant gesture, the home references an openness and lightness, which opposes its position both on the cliff and in its climate. It purposefully is not simply a robust bunker for shelter, or a washed-up timber clad shed, but a polished and minimal intervention. As such, it is a house of contrasts.
With minimal neighbours, and uninterrupted surrounds, Shark Alley truly is an enviable abode.
Located on Great Barrier Island in New Zealand, the clean and linear lines of Shark Alley allow for open plan living and connected amenity areas, without the need for interrupting internal walls. The absence of these dividers also aids in enhancing access to the ocean views from all angles within the home. Wrapping around a protected courtyard, a masonry vertical fireplace is anchored back to the heavier side of the site, with a textured paver floor and outdoor dining area. Internally, polished concrete gives a sense of slickness, while also being robust and low maintenance. This area of reprieve offers a more sheltered escape from the ocean frontage and harsh weather coming off of the sea.
Shark Alley’s expansive views and combination of open and controlled openings allows for a true engagement with its unique site. Fearon Hay has brought a series of contrasts together with a sense of permanence to an otherwise dwelling occupied only on occasion, embedding a curiosity and challenging the expected.