Taranaki farm house
A crisp modernist pavilion for a stunning rural setting.
Faced with spectacular views of the Tasman Sea in one direction and Mount Taranaki in the other, New Plymouth designer Paul Rust made the entirely logical – if admirably brave – decision to open every room up to the view.
Built for clients on a working farm in Taranaki, the house has no neighbours to speak of: nothing to interrupt the mesmerising views in all directions, which meant Rust was free to produce a classically modernist T-shaped pavilion, with floor-to-ceiling windows in the living and bedroom areas. It sits lightly in the landscape, the rolling Taranaki hills seeming to pass right through. It’s a simple, reductive plan: garage and mudroom on the short arm of the T; two bedrooms, open-plan living and a master bedroom and bathroom on the long pavilion arm. It’s narrow enough to see the landscape wherever you stand inside, and so glassy that you can see straight through it from the outside. The approach is a familiar one. Up a gravel driveway, past the shed, then up to a big double garage and the front door. Although this is where any similarity to a rustic rural building ends. There’s an interplay between solidity and openness: the garage is a black mass; the bedroom next to the crisp white front door is surrounded by glass on three sides, offering a hint of what’s to come. Open the door and the view opens out over the lawn and through the house. It looks simple; it was anything but. Creating a house so glassy was both a technical and manufacturing feat. Careful work went into the two large banks of stacking sliders on both sides, using 3.3-metre APL Architectural Series windows and doors, powdercoated in Duratec ‘Matt Black’, which fits perfectly with the black shiplap cladding. With six panels and a combined weight of more than two tonnes, the units were assembled in the factory and delivered to site for installation by crane. Detailing is key to a pavilion like this. Sliders are recessed into the floor pad to create a flush sill; on the outside of the house the Altherm manufacturer fitted colour-matched facings between window units and at the four corners. This is a house that is both there and not there: rural in outlook, though definitely not in sensibility.