Tent House by Irving Smith Jack Architects is designed to encourage freedom and protection from a hostile (but beautiful) landscape — like a permanent tent…
The house is set in an environment akin to a frontier. It's designed to encourage freedom in this often hostile environment — a super-insulated and permanent tent within an inland southern New Zealand basin. A landscape of big sky and barren, open ground with extremes of temperature interchanging between winter permafrost and summer arid heat. Of pioneer gold panning tent villages, summer holidays and wild thyme plains.
Sheltering against a southern plantation forest, the house shapes to Antarctica's Roaring Forties weather to generate a series of intermediary protective spaces interspersed with pathways and water channels connecting and fingering to the landscape. The wilderness remains unadorned and wild; fence free.
The house places an externally insulated concrete core, as 'tent', beneath a sheltering 'fly' to articulate an interior. Planning follows the patterns of a braided river connecting the independent guest accommodation, garaging and entry, to the northwestern open living area.
The spaces of the home's two inhabitants are arranged in the centre of the home, hallways flank the perimeter and double as a buffer space from the elements. A collection of hobby and retreat spaces are hunkered away from the elements. This is an anti-villa approach, providing variance to internal circulation when the conditions simply prohibit external activities.
Tent walls provide a generic palette upon which to measure the changes in season and are continually finished externally and internally in a uniform renderer. Fly roofs constructed from freezer panels resist the elements and provide summer shade, while being tilted and sheen finished to reflect and share low level winter light.
Retreat sitting, library, bedroom spaces are then comforted back within the tent and enclosed and warmed with timber linings away from the extremes of the exterior environment.
Hints of yellow to joinery references the owners art collection and initiates the eclectic camp-style arrangement of furniture and a life now equipped to wilderness.