Rimurapa House

This house is located on Wellington’s rugged south coast where the weather can vary from still clear days to gale force winds and airborne spray threatening anything that is not fixed down.

The client’s brief called for a design that demonstrated a considered relationship to the surrounding environment and its context, and a positive contribution to the area. The building had to reflect its function as well as act as an interface between the small seaside community of Owhiro Bay and the surrounding coastal environment and adjacent Te Kopahou Reserve.

The site plays an important role in the fabric of its immediate and wider context and we were conscious the architecture should not dominate or dictate the landscape, but rather enhance it.

A composition of solid and void and a reflection of past and present, the eclectic use of form and materials reflects the varied language and history of neighbouring South coast dwellings. The design is inherently contemporary but includes subtle reference to the simple forms of the original baches where structure was often expressed and panels of various materials formed the walls.

Rugged and robust materials have been selected to reflect this character and to withstand the exposed nature of the site. The underlying solid concrete structure is overlaid with rusting steel panels and weathered timber strips of varying sizes, evocative of the bull kelp (Rimurapa) commonly found washed up on the adjacent coastline.

The strong uncomplicated form heightens the experience of the site giving the feeling of being close to the elements while enabling protection from them at the same time, creating a sense of shelter in close connection with its environment.