Along the coast at Orua Bay, New Zealand a series of baches in the Kiwi tradition sit happily side-by-side, facing north to the Manukau. This new extension designed by Bossley Architects continues the traditions of relaxed, colourful and small-scaled modifications which have been occurring for generations.
The existing modest bach, now too small for a large family of children, grandchildren and friends required a modest extension. The new room floats above a car/dinghy port, available for sleeping, lounging or working. Flexible bed becomes sofa, or desks on wheels become workbenches centred in the room for artwork and architectural projects.
Squeezed between the sea and a steep cliff, the extension seems like a floating red cube relating to the existing and grounded yellow bach. A concrete block shaft, ‘outside’ the red cube, contains storage at the lower level and bathroom above. Only a path links the two buildings; the holiday experience requires wet feet and fresh air when moving from one building to the other.
Clad in extruded aluminium weatherboards, the cube has a crispness of form and colour, which could overpower the bay and neighbours if not for the fact that it is recessed behind the large Pohutukawa boughs, creating the feeling of a tree-house from inside. In fact, the Council Resource Consent Planner applauded it as being environmentally sensitive as it matched the colour of Pohutukawa flowers. The red continues on the roof and under the soffit, and also through the bathroom wall so the space reads as being outside the cube.
To counter the shading from the overhanging trees, two 'lightstalks' reach up from the roof and bring shafts of light down to the room.
A sloping bay window orients views up the bank, and on the north side a generous bay provides ample space for siestas and overflow sleeping, overlooking the beach directly below. The beach is the road at low tide. At high tide there is no vehicle access; a path winds over the cliffs from Orpheus Road to the west.