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Pirongia House

Home for an Art Collector

Pirongia, Waikato

The house is designed to enable the display of an extensive art collection, and to provide views out to key landscape features from within the house.  The owner's brief was for a simple design solution with simply-expressed materials.  The resulting design is divided into four key areas, linked together by the main entry gallery space.

Completed 2010

PAUA Architects was tasked by the client to design this home to capture the natural and rural landscape vistas afforded by its remote Pirongia maunga (mountain) location, and to reveal those views in different ways through the house.  Alongside that, a key feature of the brief was to design for plentiful wall space in a variety of settings to display an extensive art collection.  The owner enjoys entertaining, often hosting larger groups of guests, and so it was also important the design separated the public areas from the more private spaces in the house.

To this brief, the architect arranged a set of relatively simple building wings, and within the house a variety of spaces; a large gallery entry hall and galleries of views, intimate reading and conversation rooms, and social settings.  High and low level horizontal windows through much of the house provide glimpses of the surrounding landscape and Pirongia maunga, while leaving the eye-height wall space in-between for placing the artworks.

Sliding walls and a hallway ‘without walls’ creates a series of alcove rooms that are separate yet open, enabling flexibility of use within an overall feeling of spaciousness in a deceptively open plan layout.  Muted interior colours and a limited materials palette allow the art to remain the focus.

A sheltered courtyard is located on the lee of the dwelling, creating outdoor living on those days when the westerly wind sweeps the landscape.  Views over the Waikato are anchored by a fifteen metre lap pool that incorporates a sculpture at its furthest extent.

The house has been designed such that it suits the particular requirements of the current owner, but also has adaptability designed in for any future owners.  An office that currently opens onto the gallery space has been designed so it can be closed off completely and used as a third bedroom in the future.  The minimalist kitchen has been designed to accommodate a future central bench; plumbing has been installed below the slab to allow the bench to be installed without cutting the heated, polished concrete floor.


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