California Cool House-W006

  • Year2020

The Whiritoa Summer Residence is a bach situated at the end of a sleepy street behind the sand dunes at Whiritoa Beach.

Designed shortly after relocating from Los Angeles to New Zealand in 2020, the house is a cathartic release of ideas collected while exploring, studying, and working amongst the iconic buildings of the California Modern period.

The client is a general contractor, closely familiar with the aims of architects and carpenters. This led to the formation of a close working relationship with the client and the local carpenter that defined many outcomes of the design.

In this way, although the design presents as a typically expressive translation of California Modern design tropes, the architecture is not of a singular vision, but rather a careful process of looking and listening, pushing and pulling, and testing lessons learned from expert craftspeople on two sides of the Pacific Ocean.

The building is arranged in a two-level L-shaped plan made of intersecting rectangular blocks. The upper level floats over the site, resting on the blue stairwell block and a series of steel columns. It extends outwards along two axes for views over the dunes to the ocean and to catch the sun throughout the day.

The upper façade is composed of bands of timber and glazing - that define wall openings or fly out to create balconies and roof planes. The glazing band is broken up into a repeated rhythm of glass and cladding panels that is transposed to the interior using colour and timber battens.