Tate’s modern design is ageless
It’s summer – some people head to the beach, others go bush.
That’s exactly what architectural designer Chris Tate did 10 years ago when he designed a weekend hideaway for his own family.
He built a glass box in the Titirangi bush, tucked it in between the trees and mounted it on 16 poles so it would have minimal impact on the environment.
But perhaps the most amazing thing about the Forest House, as he calls it, is its enduring design – it still looks as though it was designed yesterday.
Tate puts this down to the enduring Modernist design principles that define his work.
‘‘I’m not driven by design fads,’’ he says. ‘‘Jumping on a design bandwagon can be so temporary. I believe architecture should be timeless, so it will look just as good in another 10 years, and 10 years after that. A house should last a lifetime without needing many changes. An iconic, Modernist design will even look better over time.’’
The Forest House was Tate’s first project, and, significantly, it has defined his career. ‘‘This project has shaped me and my aesthetic,’’ he says.
The designer says the relationship between the architecture and the bush landscape is critical. ‘‘Putting a sharp, clean-edged building within a native bush landscape is incredible – each complements the other so perfectly. The building has a form, but the ‘garden’ is undulating, untamed and wild.’’
Tate likes to introduce native plantings to all his projects. ‘‘Natives are very fast growing and wonderfully colourful. Even in the city, you can plant natives around a house like this and once they are established there is zero maintenance. And eventually, the birds come – tuis and woodpigeons. If everyone planted natives, we could bring the forest back to the city.’’
A black and white colour palette reinforces the clean lines of the Forest House. The cladding is black-stained timber and there are black aluminium columns, doors and windows framing the floor-to-ceiling glazing that brings the bush right into the house.
In contrast, the floors are white. In an interview with The Telegraph after he built the house, Tate said, ’’Don’t ever be afraid to paint your floors white: they are easy to keep clean and make your furniture, you and your guests all look like pieces of art!’’
Floor-to-ceiling glazing provides dramatic bush views in this west Auckland property.