From the ar­chives

Three fi­nal­ists and their en­dur­ing de­signs

HOME Magazine NZ - - Con­tents -

Prime TV made its first trans­mis­sion; Chris­tine Fletcher beat Les Mills in the Auck­land may­oralty; Chris­tian Cullen won the New Zealand Trot­ting Cup; and Darcy Clay won Most Promis­ing Male Vo­cal­ist at the New Zealand Mu­sic Awards.

Home of the Year went to a beau­ti­ful home over eight lev­els in the Bay of Is­lands, which we de­scribed as hav­ing “a del­i­cacy that makes it feel as if it barely ex­ists.” The same could hardly be said for ar­chi­tect Tim Nees’ home in Welling­ton, which was built from mas­sive tim­ber beams, rust­ing steel and peel­ing weath­er­boards sal­vaged from the cot­tage that for­merly occupied the site. “We bought the house at a mort­gagee auc­tion,” says Nees now. “It was derelict, un­der a de­mo­li­tion or­der and full of junk and waste, but we thought we’d be able to re­cy­cle enough ma­te­ri­als from it to war­rant care­ful de­mo­li­tion. This set the scene for a broad ma­te­rial pal­ette – flot­sam and jet­sam.”

How did you fit it all in?

The steep hill­side is part of the site so we were able to fill the flat part with­out go­ing over site cov­er­age. We kept ex­ist­ing re­tain­ing walls in­tact and just built three lev­els up from the flat, scrap­ing the max­i­mum height limit. The house also stands very close to the south bound­ary, but is set away from the north to get max­i­mum height and sun, which is im­por­tant on the south coast. Al­hough we didn’t re­alise just how much north­ern wind it would cop as well.

Did the de­sign ruf­fle any feath­ers?

Some lo­cals and one neigh­bour in par­tic­u­lar sim­ply hated it. They didn’t un­der­stand it. Plus, it was one of the first re­builds in Breaker Bay and there was re­sis­tance to ‘gen­tri­fi­ca­tion’. But oth­ers loved it. Suc­cess­ful ar­chi­tec­ture pro­vokes strong re­ac­tions and tries to reach be­yond its time and not limit it­self to cur­rent trends.

At the time you said the peel­ing weath­er­boards and rust­ing steel would last 50 years?

The weath­er­boards would’ve lasted, the steel not – though it’s a moot point as the house burned to the ground af­ter we sold it. It has been re­built and is a very close match to the orig­i­nal. But it’s kind of weird for me to see it. It’s a sim­u­lacrum, some­one else’s re­al­ity, an im­pos­tor, but I am very glad it was re­built.

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