From the hilltop Pencarrow House at Tamahere, the rural views of Maungatautari and Pirongia across dairy paddocks are distinctly Waikato, and to be savoured. Alongside the client’s brief to create an engaging house for entertaining, family, and relaxation, the countryside setting - with existing farm buildings, compelling rural views to the south and east, and the need to provide shelter from the south-westerly wind - became the key driver for the design.
The living area is designed along a central spine and is positioned to take advantage of the expansive views towards the south east. Due to this southerly aspect, high level windows on the north wall let sunlight and warmth into the main living area. Interior brick walls and the dark concrete floor provide a thermal heat sink, keeping the home comfortable throughout the seasons. The interior celebrates social occasions, delight in conversation, appreciation of art, and the pleasure of living.
Corrugated coloursteel cladding references the nearby farm buildings and provides a low maintenance finish. Exterior materials are used on the interior, with ‘bagged finished’ brickwork for the walls, and timber ‘weatherboards’ for the ceiling. Outdoor living spaces extend at either end of the living area, sheltered by overhanging roofs.
Steel cable tray is a reoccurring theme through the architecture, being used as a screen at the entry, as sun shading over north facing windows, and as perforated wall screens inside the house.
Steel structure is exposed within as an architectural statement and is located wholly inside the building envelope to minimise thermal bridging. The combination of these ‘exterior’ materials and steel structure, combined with timber finishes provide the interior a sense of a distinct and direct construction, mixed with warmth and texture.
An separate stand-alone ‘shed’ building accommodates a home-office studio, additional garaging, and plenty of storage. The placing of the shed creates a screened courtyard with the vegetable and herb gardens accessed directly from the kitchen as an extended pantry.
Within its rural setting, the house architecture can appear as simple monopitch sheds, but the multiple intertwined buildings provide complexity and character, and - like the local hills and mountains - a jagged profile silhouetted against the sky when viewed from countryside below.
The home received a 6 Homestar design rating recognising that the house has been designed to a standard over and above the requirements of the NZ Building Code. Sustainable features are incorporated in the design, including a high level of thermal insulation, and a high-efficiency heat pump system that supplies hot water as well as the in-slab underfloor heating.
NZIA Waikato Bay of Plenty Architecture Award 2020 – Residential Category
This home is conceived as a collection of rural forms arranged on a hilltop to align with strong and compelling views to Pirongia and Maungatautari. This assemblage also allows a rich variety of space within and between the shed forms. Site exposure is mitigated, and opportunities created to open or close the house according to the season and weather. Robust materials in black and white are softened by timber landscape screens, and textured plywood ceiling detail. The main living pavilion allows sunlight to filter through a full-length clerestory and fall on the thermal mass of interior brick cladding. A warm and inviting space is created within the hard-line industrial shell. The design is both a bold response to a particular site, and a sensitive solution to dwelling there.