Dorrington Atcheson Architects
Kawau, New Zealand
The orientation and design of this holiday home for a family of four on Kawau Island makes a hero of the view that stretches from the headland across the Bon Accord harbour and out to sea. With humble scale and materiality, the form hunkers into a steep manuka-clad site, a quiet newcomer to the native forest.
Visitors enter the house by walking between two forms: a lineal spine and the bedroom block. The ‘spine’ is a utilitarian area with a dive room for wetsuits and regulators, a temperature-controlled cool store, the laundry and extra storage.
The layout of the main home comprises two unimposing elements: one pavilion becomes the social hub that contains a modest kitchen, living and dining area; the other – the sleep zone – with two bedrooms, bathrooms, and a “rack and stack” bunk room.
Cedar shiplap and black ply cladding speak of the Kiwi vernacular while the layout is reminiscent of a campsite, albeit with a few extra home comforts.
A cocoon of timber created by cedar-sarked ceilings, plywood wall linings and solid-oak overlay flooring lends the space material warmth while shots of colour in the bedrooms bring a playfulness that is important within the context of a family escape.
In contrast to the intimacy of the interiors, a pier-like deck becomes a pathway that celebrates the open-air environ-ment. It emerges from the slope to hover above the bay. It steps down in tiers to trace the contour of the land, and pro-jects into the view. The sides of this deck wrap up, while at its end a glass balustrade frames the horizon.