De­sign note­book

Q&A with ar­chi­tect Ben Daly

HOME Magazine NZ - - Craft Work -

What’s the at­trac­tion to re­fit­ting hum­ble build­ings like this?

I’m very keen on the idea of mem­ory, the life and the sto­ries of every­day build­ings, things we are drawn to and re­act to. It’s al­most a way to try to re­con­nect with the past and a sim­ple way of liv­ing. I’m in­ter­ested in see­ing how much of that I can squeeze out and to show that ar­chi­tec­ture has a place here too.

What’s your favourite thing about the house?

It’s a very tricky one for me as this rail­way cot­tage is so much about mak­ing it very per­sonal. Ev­ery­where I look I see my­self, my thoughts, my moods, my craft­ing of spa­ces and things. If I had to, though, I’d say it would be a tie be­tween the win­dow and kitchen join­ery. In both cases I worked with what I had and treated them as the he­roes of the space. I love the sim­plic­ity of the win­dows and also the fact that the tim­ber for the kitchen join­ery was from old struc­tural beams, tim­ber fram­ing and the orig­i­nal 1950s join­ery.

Tell us about your new project.

I’ve swapped ru­ral Hawke’s Bay for ru­ral Can­ter­bury. It’s an old sheep shear­ing shed and is ex­actly the same size as the rail­way cot­tage. The chal­lenge I love is try­ing to keep the shed still look­ing like a shear­ing shed by con­stantly hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with it as I go to make sure I haven’t done too much. The space and light are amaz­ing and the tex­tures of the old tim­bers and marks of a pre­vi­ous work­ing life get me re­ally ex­cited about the project.

What’s the end game – will you end up with a col­lec­tion of beau­ti­fully crafted houses around the coun­try?

Again, that’s a tricky one. I’ve ap­proached each project one at a time, al­most as if it was an art­work and have given ev­ery­thing my love and con­sid­er­a­tion. In that way I know that I am happy with the out­comes. What ex­cites me is the idea of how these projects will age – will they be­come au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal or will they just re­lax with time? I’m in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing where this may end up and hope­fully I won’t have a small col­lec­tion of them around the coun­try­side!

1. Front porch 2. En­try 3. Bed­room 4. Deck 5. Din­ing 6. Kitchen 7. Back hall/pantry 8. Bath­room/laun­dry 9. Study

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