A compact urban holiday home illustrates the potential for opportunity in planning adversity.
The bach is often about the beach, but at heart we think it’s really about intention. Creating an architecture to shift mindsets from work to relaxation, simplicity, and bringing people together. It can happen anywhere.
The internal volume is spectacular. It was instantly nicknamed ‘the cathedral’ by the carpenters who meticulously crafted it.
Restrictions are typically seen as limitations – but they can also inspire imaginative fusions of form and function, inviting you to look beyond the orthogonal, to share spaces, and reach out to light and views.
This was the case at Heron House, an ‘urban bach’ designed for an expat Kiwi filmmaker and partner based in Europe for much of the year. While baches or holiday homes tend to be associated with beaches and lakes, they also engender a sense of retreat and encourage a shift in mindset, a spirit of fun, simplicity and being together in relaxed ways that can be accomplished in many settings.
Here, the ‘beach’ is replaced with a lush, mature garden – shared with good friends who occupy the site’s front house. In this setting, the house is distinguished by its tall, asymmetric roofline – the form, a response to council planning controls, turns limitations into opportunities to reach up and out, capturing an easterly view of Maungawhau / Mt Eden, and the softer, eastern morning light.
This house is about colour, texture and fun. While the exterior is designed with visually recessive cladding, emphasising the garden’s qualities, the double-height interior has a warm yellow kitchen, deep blue-green walls and clear-finished okoume plywood ceilings that balance scale and drama with warmth and intimacy.