House of the week: Bach on sleds

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014

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House Of The Week

House of the week: Taranaki showhome House of the week: Prebbleton House of the week: Melrose House of the week: Pelorus Sound House of the week: Bach on sleds House of the week: Queenstown House of the week: Kelburn House of the week: Containers House of the week: Whangamata House of the week: Peka Peka

This Kiwi bach was inspired by the need to solve a problem in a unique way, architect Ken Crosson says.

The owners wanted a "groovy" little bach on Coromandel Peninsula's Whangapoua Beach. The problem was that all homes in the coastal erosion zone must be removable.

The solution? To employ some good old Kiwi ingenuity, and prop the bach on giant wooden sleds - hence its name, the "Hut on Sleds".

Measuring a tiny 40 square metres and using sustainable raw materials, Crosson was able to deliver a modern twist on the humble holiday home.

"The old Kiwi bach is something you build over time - and you always grab the cheapest material that's around, so the back is kind of different to the front," the Auckland-based architect says.

"It's low-maintenance, the cladding and timber are left to weather.

"That's the whole point of these baches, you don't want to be going down there and spending your time and money maintaining things."

The compact house fits a family of five, with a mezzanine bedroom for mum and dad, and three levels of bunk beds for the kids.

Ladders provide access to bedding, and a roof terrace.

Cubby holes and shelves feature throughout the interior, providing a place to stow summer holiday treasures - favourite books, shells, elegant bits of driftwood.

After long days spent in the surf, a side entrance to the bathroom means occupants can head straight into a hot shower.

"You can open the door and shower in the sunshine, or you've got a translucent screen where you can retain your privacy and still have sunlight coming through," Crosson says.

"The floor of the bathroom is one big shower tray with shearing-shed sheep-grating over it, so the water just goes through it."

The structure makes the most of the sweeping Coromandel views, and large shutters open out on to the beach to absorb the elements.

"It's a little bit like camping - you open your tent flap up and you're completely connected to the view and the outside."

These can be closed again when the bach is uninhabited, turning it into a small fortress.

The house won the NZIA New Zealand award and NZIA award for architecture in 2012.

It has also been featured in architectural magazines and shortlisted for prizes internationally.

"It's gone around the world," Crosson says.

"It's one of those little projects that catches people's imagination."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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