The Dominion Post
At home in wild Wairarapa
In another of our occasional profiles on architects, finds out what makes Victoria Read tick.
ARCHITECT Victoria Read’s practice is based in Wairarapa and she started with small alterations 19 years ago and now works mostly on new homes, wineries and hospitality work.
Credo in architectural terms: I like architecture that responds to the contextual situation. I try and design houses which are uniquely Wairarapa in nature and respond to our climate and landscape. I try and sneak in as much sustainability as I can to every design and am finding that over time my clients are prioritising sustainability more and more. It is really important to me that my clients get a home that responds directly to their individual circumstances, both in site and lifestyle. Materials: As far as materiality goes I like to use natural materials, timber, concrete, stone. I like big airy rooms mixed with spaces you can tuck away in on a cold winter evening. New Zealanders seem to be naturally outdoorsy and I like to have a strong connection to the outside spaces. In the Wairarapa we have ferocious winds so I try and include a windless courtyard in every design.
Hallmarks your work: I grew up on a hill country farm near the coastline in Martinborough and have a strong connection to the land. I think it is this that informs most of my work. My practice is based in a small country town and many of my clients are in the rural area. The landscapes of the Wairarapa are stunning and so familiar to me that my response to this is at a subconscious level. There is so much to work with in the Wairarapa, from the Martinborough vineyards to the wide, slow moving Ruamahanga River and dry hills that form a backdrop to our small towns. Style of working: I like to talk with the clients and discover what they enjoy lifestyle wise as well as stylistically. You learn a lot from clients by visiting them at home, meeting the family and forming a deeper understanding of how they like to live. I often share pictures and ideas with clients on Pinterest which is such a great tool for collating images. One of the best client meetings I had was on horseback where the client and I rode around Martinborough for a couple of hours discussing architecture and ideas.
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