Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Now THIS is what I call a holiday house ...


4pm Summer

Plan - Ground FloorSomeone emailed me in support of John Key's bach.  Well, of what John Key and a journalist claim is a bach. 

They reckon it's a beaut bach, just as John Boy obviously does.

Well, I don't.  I know what baches should look like. 

Here's one here.  Yes, I've posted it here before, but here's my own favourite unbuilt bach.  Relaxed.  Casual.  Open.  Expansive.  And yes, it's one I designed
myself.   Let's call it Holiday House 1. (Click on pics to enlarge.)

SectionsUPDATE:  The pictures above show the house in mid-summer, in mid- to late-afternoon, when shade is your friend and the large eaves do their work. 

Here's a picture of the house at the same time of day in mid-winter, showing the penetration of the sun at the time when it's most wanted:

4pm Winter

Labels: Architecture

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Van Oostrom House – Organon Architecture



I couldn’t be happier with how this house has turned out – and from their enthusiasm I sense my clients would say the same.


I posted it here a few years back (here and here), but now the plants have matured – and since it’s been featured in the Waikato Times this month, I figured it was about time I showed it here in all its glory.


Who would have thought this could be found just five minutes from the centre of Hamilton.


The Waikato Times called it “an outstanding Hamilton home, surely one that is among the finest ‘House ‘n’ Lifestyle’ has featured.” Naturally, I agree with them . . .  but I bet they say that about every house. ;^)


The house offers a private front to the street, and opens out from within to four landscaped ‘courtyards’ created to integrate site and house.


I won’t say too much here, since you can read about it in the ‘House n’ Lifestyle’ feature linked below – but seeing a house completed to this standard and the clients enjoying it as they are is the reason I do this job: to bring their dreams into reality by doing what they would do if they were a good architect.

P1000564 [Photos by AvO]





Labels: Architecture, Organon Architecture

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Project: Dargaville extension – Organon Architecture

Opt001- RearCourtyard

Here’s a simple wee project I’ve been working on to extend a small existing house with a family area opening up to a protected outside courtyard, and to add on a sleep-out/studio with an open outside-eating spot between to enjoy cooling summer breezes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Raglan proposal


Sketch proposal for a steeply sloping Raglan site overlooking the inner harbour, on a site with fierce restrictive covenants--and which itself is heavily overlooked.

Sketch Plan 001 Image (10)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Architectural Mini-Tutorial: The New Zealand House

Every place, every region, has a house form that’s unique to that place – unique because of history, because of climate, because of landscape or way of life.

Given what we have here in New Zealand, and our relaxed way of life, here’s how the New Zealand house appears to me, in oomparison to some of the house types of other times and other places . . .

Labels: Architectural Mini-Tutorial, Architecture, New Zealand

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Architectural Mini-Tutorial: Ceiling Decks

Open plan living is a vast improvement on life in a box -- or in a series of boxes, which is what describes most traditional houses, unfortunately.

But it’s not enough just to be “open plan.”  The biggest open plan space is just a field, right?  Good open-plan living still requires a delineation of spaces within the larger space – it’s just more difficult for the designer to ensure the right degree of separation between the sub-spaces, and the right amount of integration of each sub-space with the main space. 

In a well-designed open space, each space will have its own character, and will flow easily and comfortably into other spaces – especially if the spaces are successfully “nested.” It should feel natural, not forced, with each space retaining its own character within the larger space, but still being a part of it.  Done properly, the “separation” or division of spaces gives the right feelings of liberation or enclosure appropriate to the space.

It’s important that the definition of each each space within the larger whole is done a subtle manner so as to avoid there simply being a space like 'one large barn.'  Some popular methods of achieving this separation are:

  • different floor coverings in different space;
  • changes in floor level between spaces;
  • furnishing layouts;
  • the use of sliding or folding 'screens';
  • the use of room proportions and wall returns to break up a larger space into smaller sub-spaces;
  • posts and the like between spaces;
  • changes in window and door layouts, e.g., a french door layout in one part of a space, and perhaps clerestory windows in the other;
  • changes in ceiling height, including the use of lowered ceilings and lowered ceiling decks, seen below:

The method by which the separation is achieved is usually dependent on the extent and quality of the spatial separation required. brings me to ceiling decks – a special kind of “overhead plane” - essentially a lowered “ceiling slab'” that you can see over, and in which you might have downlights, uplights and other services – and that the cunning designer can use to frame a space; to separate two spaces; to direct a view; to give order to a series of spaces; and another way by which to squeeze down the “space bubble” of occupants in a space to give either “containment” or “release.”

And oddly enough, if the “decks” are done well and they become the primary ordering element of a space – the means by which space in a building is “read” – then your walls, and other enclosures start to lose their importance.  You’ve started to “break the box.”

Which maybe explains why you see them so rarely. Most modern designers like boxes.  And they despise subtlety.

Ceiling decks offer a particularly subtle way both to 'frame a space' and to divide one space from another, but also – if you do them well -- lowered ceiling decks that 'frame' a space help to make that space and those around it appear larger than they are. 

So basically, a lowered ceiling deck is simply a lowed or independent part of a ceiling, usually horizontal in the manner of an above-ground 'deck.'  Below are some examples of lowered ceiling decks, ceiling dividers and “picture rails” (used to suggest a lowered ceiling) using different styles, and from different eras. See if you can see all that the designer as hoping to achieve with it:

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Labels: Architectural Mini-Tutorial, Architecture