Waa Rata is a large lifestyle property, located at the head of the Ngatiawa Valley. It has views of the Kapiti Coast to the west and backs onto the Tararua Forest Park to the east. The owners Phil Stroud and Marian Smith had owned the land for some time, and were renting on the next property. They understood the specific site requirements, especially with higher rainfall and temperature extremes compared to the moderate climate on the coast nearby.
The house was designed to fit into the landscape, take in the magnificent views, be affordable to build, meet current spatial needs with a view to future expansion options, and have a sustainable approach to use of materials, water use and energy consumption.
We were fortunate to be able to assist Phil and Marion in site selection on the property. Together we agreed that a platform near the stream and existing specimen Rata trees was idyllic, affording great views as well as a sense of intimacy not always available on a farm block. Accessing the house over a bridge on foot was seen as a real point of difference and appeal, compared to urban settings which predominantly feature vehicular access.
After visiting the production facility in Rotorua, Timbercrete blocks were chosen for the end feature/thermal mass wall as the central ‘spine’ wall. These were complemented by the balance of the walls being clad in stained ply. Large glazing panels capture the view to the west, opening out on to an afternoon terrace. A more sheltered terrace opens off the bedroom for morning use or when it is too windy/hot on the main terrace.
The Rata trees were used as inspiration for the interior, with an existing milled Rata tree providing timber capping and a breakfast bench to the kitchen. Meranti ply was used on the ceilings and joinery. Landscaping was enhanced by using large boulders recovered from excavating the building platform. One boulder ideally shaped as a diverter, was placed in the entrance paving to discharge water from the rainwater chain into the drain.
“ As the first and only home we plan to build, we had high expectations. We desired a home that enabled easy living, and reflected the rural surroundings and our Waa Rata environmental ethos. It also needed to be adaptable over time as our living needs changed. With this brief and our initial concepts, Peter was able to design a home that we are extremely comfortable living in. He provided solutions that met the brief and our aspirations. We felt that Peter and his team listened to our queries and created solutions that we considered were workable and buildable. As our expectations were exceeded we would recommend the team at ADarchitecture to any future home builder. ”
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