Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects - Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Tauranga

Complex Simplicity: HMOA’s award-winning house at Waikanae, Kapiti Coast


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Waikanae House - Elevation. Wellington
Waikanae House - Dusk Elevation From Pool. Wellington

Simplicity is deceptively complex at our Waikanae House which won a housing award at the recent NZIA Wellington Architecture Awards.

Waikanae House - Dusk Elevation. Wellington

The judging panel observed that the simple external forms of the structure contain a hidden complexity within. "Viewed on approach this house appears to be a simple composition of box forms. However, on entering and circulating through it, the composition reveals surprises, subtle complexities and a deft handling that responds to the site and the client needs."

Now a finalist in the 2017 NZIA New Zealand Architecture Awards, the Waikanae House was designed by HMOA director Max Herriot and senior architect Oliver Markham. The architects’ careful design and sensitive landscaping means this elevated beachfront holiday home sits comfortably in its seaside environment while still capturing panoramic sea views towards Kapiti Island and framed vistas of the Tararua Ranges.

The judges said: "From the seaward side it sits horizontally in clever contrast to the verticality of the landward view. In a sense, it inverts the form of Kapiti Island to which it faces. Cuts through the form, glazed and open, capture landward and seaward views. The Waikanae house presents, both simply and complexly, a very well-composed and compelling architectural outcome."

The home is made up of a main house with two bedrooms, a bathroom, living areas and a roof top lounge and deck, plus a separate two-bedroom guest wing on top of the garage. The design of the house comprises macrocarpa timber ‘volumes’ to create sheltered spaces for living and entertaining. The deeply overhanging roof planes provide respite from the summer sun. An outdoor swimming pool is nestled among the dunes to escape the prevailing coastal wind.

Click here for more of Andy Spain's photographs of the Waikanae House.