In reference to the simple fishing and summer cottages of Taieri Beach, this modern bach design affords more height and volume. Text Mason & Wales, Photography Ewen Livingstone
The cottages of the coast are a product of their environment – influenced in scale and form by function, affordability and DIY construction, and often involving building additions and reused materials. This modern bach follows these influences, and the resulting design is an exercise in affordability and planning that will allow the structure to adapt and grow from one generation to the next.
Designed by architect Regan Johnston when he was at Mason & Wales Architects in Dunedin, the simple gable not only creates an economical building envelope with a footprint of just 55 square metres, but also offers a unique double-height, glazed living volume. This dramatically increases the apparent size and quality of the space, which is shared by the mezzanine bedroom/study above.
Plywood provides all the support and bracing, there is no need for structural steel, other than the gable cross-braces. The plywood also has the humble character called for in this environment. Materials have been selected to patina in time. Recycled thousand year-old heart rimu flooring is oiled only; interior plywood walls and ceiling linings are left natural and sealed only in moisture-sensitive areas.
As the joint supreme winner of the 2014 NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards, the judges commended its use of what are often perceived as low-value materials in their raw form to provide a harmony between simplicity and sophistication.