Casually Compact – Whangapoua House by Crosson Architects
Whangapoua Beach, New Zealand
Casually compact, Whangapoua Beach House is a warm and all-encompassing timber formation of lightness. Crosson Architects brings a knowing understanding of the landscape and combines a minimal restraint and restrictive palette to propose an efficient use of space and materiality.
Responding to its softly undulating coastal site, Whangapoua Beach House conveys a sense of lightness. Surrounded by swaying native grasses and layered, textured groundcovers, the house is both subtle and gentle in its engagement with the earth. With an understanding of the New Zealand landscape, Crosson Architects minimalist restraint to the restricted material palette to create a casual and compact home.
Oriented north-east toward the adjacent ocean and nearby islands, the open planning creates visual and ventilatable connections to nature beyond. The form is regular, with glazed openings at the front and back edges, allowing for protection from neighbouring properties on both flanking sides. Internally, the same streamlined approach is present throughout, with joinery deliberately concealed and integrated. The internal spaces feature a series of punctuations and voids that welcome natural light inward and provide subtle variations to the linear planes. Bi-folding full-height glazed doors sit behind timber-batten screens that connect the inside to the landscape and nature beyond.
Responding to its softly undulating coastal site, Whangapoua Beach House conveys a sense of lightness.
Comprising two bedrooms, each on either side of a central bathroom and kitchen, the living space opens up and becomes the convening heart of the home. Muted timber and concrete bring a sense of connection through the continuation of surfaces across planes. The in-situ poured concrete benchtops are a welcome and durable surface that reflects the home’s remoteness, while injections of colour and varying stained timbers create a distinction in textural depth. Externally, the band-sewn cedar cladding is intended to be recessive in its environment, blending into and with its surroundings.
Combining an element of refinement though the execution and junction detailing, Whangapoua Beach House bends itself to the textured tapestry of the landscape. The result of listening to and working alongside the unique site conditions, the subtleties inherent to the design and the gentle transition between the built form and the natural create a light, efficient and above all responsive home.