Between the pages

November 30 2022

We’re still firm believers in physical books as one of the best mediums in which to showcase the arts and, as Mexican architect Luis Barragan once said, architecture is an art where one creates aesthetic emotion in the atmosphere. Three recent releases include examples of our residential work.

We’re proud to be included in Small Holiday Houses by Catherine Foster, Architecture at Home by Debra Millar and Cape to Bluff by Simon Devitt, Luke Scott and Andrea Stevens.
We don’t like to blow our own trumpets (too much), so turned the tables on the authors and asked them why they selected the work they did to appear in the books.

Houses with a footprint under 100-square-metres was a benchmark in Catherine Foster’s book and we were lucky enough to get two projects between the pages. The first was a simple, shed-like structure in Cardrona. Despite its modest footprint, it’s functional and beautiful. “It’s an outstanding example of what a holiday house should be,” says Catherine. “There’s room for ten, the warmth of timber inside and out, dramatic views to stop the heart and all-weather comfort around an open fire. What more could a holiday house be?”

Moving away from the mountains and down to the beach, Light House in Jack’s Bay in the Caitlins seems to have captured hearts and minds. It could be seen as stark with its coat of smooth-plastered concrete, but it uses colour and graphic pattern to funk up the volume. “With red as an accent, a huge diamond-hatched window and faded, grey storm shutters, it gives the impression of a lighthouse, standing staunch against the challenging environment that is the Southern Ocean,” says Catherine.

A holiday home at Buckleton’s Beach, built for RTA Studio founder Richard Naish and his wife Andrea Hotere, was Debra Millar’s choice for her book – and she obviously has a fine eye for design as she’s married to an architect. “As well as being beautiful to look at, I wanted the houses in the book to highlight ways in which a considered architectural response can overcome, and even enrich, a certain set of environmental challenges. In the case of Richard and Andrea's house, the complexities of coastal inundation and an overland flood path have been addressed in a particularly rational way, by elevating the living platform on pilotis and amplifying the experience of the sea view in the process. It is architectural problem solving done elegantly,” she says.

Followers of architecture will instantly recognise photographer Simon Devitt’s name. He is a genius behind the lens and in Cape to Bluff wanted to capture “a slow walk through the New Zealand landscape”. He says of Mountain House, a sculptural, contemporary Arrowtown residence, set around a courtyard: “I approached Rich about photographing the house at the very first stages of planning the book. I felt compelled to attempt to convey how it feels to be there, in that landscape at that incredibly sculptural, very, very crafted home. Home to a sculptor and his family. It doesn’t get any better than moments like that. Thanks RTA.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves and the pleasure of creating such homes is all ours.

These three books are available now and would no doubt make a much-appreciated Christmas gift under the tree this year.

Projects mentioned in this post:

Arrowtown Buckletons Bach Cardrona Hut