After a mad dash around a few projects in central Auckland, we visited Piha at the end of our first day of judging. There was traffic on the North Western motorway at 4pm, which bemused Mel Bright of MAKE Architecture, our guest judge from Melbourne. When we headed over the Waitakere Ranges, she went quiet as she observed the view from the ridge overlooking Piha beach and Lion Rock.
‘Kawakawa House’ by Lance and Nicola Herbst sits back from the beach in a glade of established pōhutukawa. Apart from cicadas in the trees, it’s a quiet and contemplative spot.
The house holds back the view as you climb the central spiral staircase and emerge into the living area, which feels like a covered deck slung up in the trees. When we arrived, it was 5pm, the sun was just starting to set and a golden glow washed through the house. Back in the private areas of the home, the light was filtered and dark in the bedrooms and bathrooms.
Judges’ comments “A cross between a tree house and a machine for living, perhaps it’s a device for contemplating nature. It combines conceptual clarity and precise execution with the unusual quality of being autonomous, yet empathetic with its natural environment.”
Project ‘Kawakawa House’ Practice Herbst Architects Location Piha, West Auckland