Onetangi Beach House, Waiheke

How to retain the charm of an original bach which, although loved, meets none of the requirements put upon it by the same family 90 years on. On a truly iconic double-site on Onetangi Beach, hot summer days here now flow seamlessly from beach to house to deck to view.

On a truly iconic double site on Onetangi Beach, hot summer days here now flow seamlessly from beach to house to deck to view.

This 5th generation family beach property has been home to a bach since 1926 but lacked plumbing, insulation, connection to the outdoors and privacy. However, full of memories, we have retained and relocated the original it at the rear for an overflow accomodation, and built a new house that meets the demands of the expanded family.

A fundamental driver for the form was the brief to provide 3 double-bedroom suites all with sea view and a big open deck to the sea on the north.

The services are in the recessive coloured cantilevers either side of the open living. They allow the house to sit lightly across the site minimising both the bulk and the footprint. The living area is a glazed L-shaped volume between decks front and rear, (and is vertically suspended between the deck and bedrooms hovering above). Dining table and benches wheel out to the front or rear decks, while all spaces can connect visually to the sea, emphasising the simple beach-style simplicity. The ambiguity between upper and lower floors blurs the boundaries of inside and out.

The bedrooms, in contrast, are withdrawn private spaces with connections to the sea and surrounding hills. The three angled, motorised shug windows give balcony-type views of the water.

Although elevated, the living room floor is concrete and an effective thermal mass. Double-glazing and extra insulation retain the warmth of the day. There is ample cross-ventilation and opportunities to migrate around the living area to suit wind shifts and all day sun or shade options.

This is also proving to be a very popular short-term rental.

Award 2013 NZIA Local Award for Architecture, Photography by Patrick Reynolds