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Making a home with four words

The brief given to  Stufkens + Chambers Architects for the award-winning Tauranga home affectionately known as the Pohutukawa House was “small, sustainable, simple and special”.

The challenge then became the pulling together of all of the aspects of the project without losing the essence of the words that encapsulated the client’s vision for their new home, which won a Housing Award in the latest Waikato Bay of Plenty Architecture Awards.

The clients had lived on the property for so long, it had become a part of them, said project architect Steven Chambers.

The architects sought to harness those connections and transform them into a new home to meet current needs. The programme for this small home was very specific, with a strong influence on being respectful in the connection to the site.

The home is understated on the outside, creates an intimate calm demeanour on the inside and is filled with moments of delight,” said Chambers.

Their design process took inspiration from the local surroundings to create a unique exterior and interior form. The resultant home sits modestly on the escarpment, nestling beside the majestic Pohutukawa tree adjacent to the property. The building begged to age gracefully into its location, so timber species were selected to weather and patina, with colour and texture connecting to the pohutukawa.

The entry is tucked away, and the arrival connects you firstly to the sky, before feeding you to more horizontal landscapes. Interior spaces unfold from a bright sky lit core recalibrating the experience as you move to each space.

Stufkens + Chambers’ approach to all of their projects, regardless of being a residence, commercial fitout, or new office building, is to have what Chambers called “kaleidoscopic eyes” – enabling observers to step back and see things from multiple perspectives.

“Architecture is largely misunderstood, as being solely about aesthetics and function,” he said. “But while we can tick those boxes, it is more fundamental than that, it is about people, places, and things, and the interaction between them all. It is how we fit into our world, and make it our own space to be in, be it at work or home.”

The winners

All 2019 award winners are listed below.

Commercial Architecture 

Trust Waikato Te Puna o Waikato – Office Development, Hamilton; Chow:Hill Architects

The Kollective, Tauranga; Wingate Architects  

Education 

The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Ngā Kete Tuku Iho – Precinct Development, Rotorua; Design Tribe Architects 

Enduring Architecture 

Treetop Home (1977), Taupō; John Wilson Architect 

Heritage 

Wiseman Central, Hamilton; Edwards White Architects 

Housing

Appleford Residence, Mount Maunganui; Brendon Gordon Architects 

Matarangi Cabins; CAAHT Studio Architects 

Split House, Mt Maunganui; Cummings Studio Architects

Matua House, Tauranga; Designgroup Stapleton Elliott 

Whanarua Bay House, Taupō; Fraser Cameron Architects 

Kuiwai House, Taupō, Fraser Cameron Architects  

Pauanui Beach House, Johnston Architects 

Aotea Harbour Holiday Home, Kāwhia; PAUA Architects  

Pauanui Beach Home, Peddle Thorp Architect 

Pohutukawa House, Tauranga; Stufkens + Chambers Architects 

Callesen House, Kinloch; Xsite Architects 

Housing – Alterations and Additions 

Checkers, Pauanui; Wendy Shacklock Architects

Housing – Multi-unit 

Parkhaven, Hamilton; Edwards White Architects  

Interior Architecture 

Spectrum Building, Te Awamutu; Christopher Beer Architect  

EWA Studio, Hamilton; Edwards White Architects  

Planning & Urban Design 

The Riverbank Lane, Edwards White Architects  

Public Architecture 

Te Aka Mauri Children’s Health and Library Hub, Rotorua; GHDWoodhead creativespaces 

Whakatane Museum Refurbishment – Te Whare Taonga o Taketake; Irving Smith Architects

The clients had lived on the property for so long, it had become a part of them, said project architect Steven Chambers.

The architects sought to harness those connections and transform them into a new home to meet current needs. The programme for this small home was very specific, with a strong influence on being respectful in the connection to the site.

The home is understated on the outside, creates an intimate calm demeanour on the inside and is filled with moments of delight,” said Chambers.

Their design process took inspiration from the local surroundings to create a unique exterior and interior form. The resultant home sits modestly on the escarpment, nestling beside the majestic Pohutukawa tree adjacent to the property. The building begged to age gracefully into its location, so timber species were selected to weather and patina, with colour and texture connecting to the pohutukawa.

The entry is tucked away, and the arrival connects you firstly to the sky, before feeding you to more horizontal landscapes. Interior spaces unfold from a bright sky lit core recalibrating the experience as you move to each space.

Stufkens + Chambers’ approach to all of their projects, regardless of being a residence, commercial fitout, or new office building, is to have what Chambers called “kaleidoscopic eyes” – enabling observers to step back and see things from multiple perspectives.

“Architecture is largely misunderstood, as being solely about aesthetics and function,” he said. “But while we can tick those boxes, it is more fundamental than that, it is about people, places, and things, and the interaction between them all. It is how we fit into our world, and make it our own space to be in, be it at work or home.”

The winners

All 2019 award winners are listed below.

Commercial Architecture 

Trust Waikato Te Puna o Waikato – Office Development, Hamilton; Chow:Hill Architects

The Kollective, Tauranga; Wingate Architects  

Education 

The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Ngā Kete Tuku Iho – Precinct Development, Rotorua; Design Tribe Architects 

Enduring Architecture 

Treetop Home (1977), Taupō; John Wilson Architect 

Heritage 

Wiseman Central, Hamilton; Edwards White Architects 

Housing

Appleford Residence, Mount Maunganui; Brendon Gordon Architects 

Matarangi Cabins; CAAHT Studio Architects 

Split House, Mt Maunganui; Cummings Studio Architects

Matua House, Tauranga; Designgroup Stapleton Elliott 

Whanarua Bay House, Taupō; Fraser Cameron Architects 

Kuiwai House, Taupō, Fraser Cameron Architects  

Pauanui Beach House, Johnston Architects 

Aotea Harbour Holiday Home, Kāwhia; PAUA Architects  

Pauanui Beach Home, Peddle Thorp Architect 

Pohutukawa House, Tauranga; Stufkens + Chambers Architects 

Callesen House, Kinloch; Xsite Architects 

Housing – Alterations and Additions 

Checkers, Pauanui; Wendy Shacklock Architects

Housing – Multi-unit 

Parkhaven, Hamilton; Edwards White Architects  

Interior Architecture 

Spectrum Building, Te Awamutu; Christopher Beer Architect  

EWA Studio, Hamilton; Edwards White Architects  

Planning & Urban Design 

The Riverbank Lane, Edwards White Architects  

Public Architecture 

Te Aka Mauri Children’s Health and Library Hub, Rotorua; GHDWoodhead creativespaces 

Whakatane Museum Refurbishment – Te Whare Taonga o Taketake; Irving Smith Architects

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