House of the week: Peka Peka

Last updated 05:00 27/11/2013

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The brief for this beachside Peka Peka holiday house was for a separation of spaces so that guests and the family could both have privacy, yet for the home overall to still have a feeling of intimacy.

Nothing fussy, not too big, yet with enough space for friends and family to stay - so a house that could transition comfortably between two and nine occupants, and that had a feeling of relaxation yet style.

Architect Gerald Parsonson describes his response as an exploration in creating a building with both a strong architectural character and economy.

"We have used simple modular construction techniques combined with a very simple form," he says.

"The plan is a rectangle and is divided into three parts - the solid bedrooms at each end support a floating roof over the living space in-between.

"This layout allows the living room to face both east to the hills and west to the sea. It allows sun into the house throughout the day for passive solar heating of the concrete slab, and creates a sheltered outside space on the east side that still keeps a strong connection to the western sea views."

The owners say their house is cool.

"The living is an open floating room, a social hub," they say.

"All traffic goes through this space and onto the deck on either side. Entrances to the adjoining rooms are extra wide so the living area borrows light and views, giving a more expansive effect.

"The Boxes are enclosed 'safe' spaces signified by lower ceilings and warm dark colours on both walls and ceilings. The original external colour concept was for a natural colour sympathetic to the site, however when the building paper went on the effect was stunning and we knew it would have to be dark so chose Resene Foundry."

And in another quirk of fate the bedroom colour was supposed to be Resene Juniper but there was a mistint only discovered when the painter went back for more paint.

"The mistint was more vibrant so we had the paint matched, it is now named Resene H&S Juniper."

Since the beach house was completed a gymnasium has been added, which the owners say appears on arrival to be another box but on closer inspection mimics the pavilion-like tent space of the house and provides a room with an inspiring beach view from which to work out. 


Size: House 120 square metres, gymnasium 40 sqm, plus garage and decking

Build Cost: $3000/square metre

Architect: Gerald Parsonson, Parsonson Architects

Awards: NZIA Local Award for Architecture 2010, NZIA Resene Colour Award 2010

Materials: Plywood, concrete floor, aluminum joinery and panels, colour steel roof

Done Right: The house has been built so it expands and contracts according to the number being accommodated at any one time, it also suits all seasons, so in the winter there's lots of sun and in the summer plenty of shade, with always somewhere out of the wind.

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Done Wrong: "We would like to have used solar power," say the owners, "but cost and roof angles made it difficult. Into the future it's something we might investigate.

Unexpected: "The impact of the garage door on arrival continues to delight and surprise - at the time of building we didn't really have a strong view about it but when we recently considered converting the garage we couldn't bring ourselves to change it."

Recommend: "Having a collaborative approach between architect and owners, and knowing what you want and conveying that to the designer. Probably most importantly finding an architect whose style you like. We'd seen a few of Gerald Parsonsons projects and knew we liked his style and use of space."

Next Time: "It's pretty much perfect but maybe we would do a smaller house and actually make a separate bunk room as another box. The configuration is great now while the grandchildren are little but when they're bigger I think we and they will want that separation." 

- © Fairfax NZ News


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