The Wonder of the Wedge

September 9 2022

The architecture of sheds can be seen as rudimentary but it’s also relevant when you’re designing in a region steeped in horticultural history. A recently completed dwelling, set in the vast ruggedness of Central Otago, takes its essence of form from the wide, gently pitched gable of a fruit-packing shed.

Playing with this vernacular, the shed has been sliced down the middle into two separate wedges which are then positioned alongside each other – the high end of each wedge facing outwards to frame a distinct view.

This two-bedroomed home is a confident example of autobiographical architecture in that it precisely meets the needs of its occupant. It was completed for a professional who requested just the right balance of privacy and gregariousness: the two wedges deliver that dichotomy. One accommodates the public spaces. This is a sequence of kitchen, dining area and living room beneath exposed steel-framed portals painted oxide red to reflect the colour of the nearby Clyde Bridge. The other is primed for privacy with a generous bedroom and a study lined with books. The 6-metre window in the main bedroom has a tranquil aspect over a pond while the tall end of the wedge in the public zone ushers in a working tapestry over vineyards and olive groves, and the mountains beyond.

The two wedges are linked by a slender corridor with a glass roof so the wide blue of the Central Otago sky can enter the picture. Clad in tawny toned vertical timber, the structure does not clash with the landscape, although the angular form lends it strong presence. Inside, pops of colour – a different shade for each internal door – embrace the creative spirit of the owner as does an outdoor room lined with bench seating and colourful squabs under a low ceiling at the thin end of one wedge.

These twinned wedge shapes which narrow and widen on the horizontal plane and move from low to high on the vertical, allow aspects of compression and release which make the experience so much more dynamic than your average composition. The judges at the NZIA Southern Architecture Awards thought so too - and the house picked up a local award, as did our Emerald Bluffs Guest House (see more here: tiny-but-mighty) in the same region.

Two of our other projects – a home on Great Barrier and the Manurewa High School Business Hub – also received local awards this year. It’s always an honour to be recognised by our peers, but our greatest achievement remains working closely with clients to shape concepts and build outcomes that elevate the everyday on a practical, professional and personal level.

Projects mentioned in this post:

Vineyard House Fale Marker Manurewa High School