Tuhua Lookout

  • Category [object Object]
  • Year completed 2018
  • Location Waihi Beach
  • Awards ADNZ 2019 Regional Commended 150-300m2
  • Photos Mark Scowen


Project Description

With spectacular views of Tūhua/Mayor Island (a landmark treasured by Māori due to the presence of black obsidian, the jet-black glassy stone the island is named after), it was only natural this luxe Signature Homes beachfront built property was designed to embrace and celebrate coastal living. Where once sat a humble Kiwi bach, is now a sustaining a generously proportioned family beach house exuding tranquillity, timelessness and functionality. The brief called for a sleek yet robust home that could cater for entertaining large groups in multiple areas throughout any season, without losing sight of the home’s core purpose as a peaceful and intimate sanctuary for domestic life. The harsh nature of Waihi Beach’s coastal environmental meant careful assessment of environmental effects was needed for this project, from coastal inundation and erosion through to natural character. Established rock seawalls and building setbacks provide erosion protection, while appropriate design responses in terms of base levels established on timber floor components protect the home against inundation risks. The home’s cedar cladding and simple wedge form deliver a sharp yet classic interpretation of the typical beachfront bach. Strong lines beautifully collide with the asymmetry of the home’s natural surrounds, while the materiality of the vertically-stained cedar cladding (which will resemble a light-coloured driftwood as it ages) allows for a subtle blending into the environment’s character. With such a distinct and striking locale, we couldn’t resist blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living. A bold spine corridor playfully connects street to ocean, with pitching roof lines creating sheltered spaces and scale to draw the eyes through the hallway, past the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and lounge area, and eventually out to rest on Tūhua standing proudly in the distance. Outside (on the seaward side), extensive decking elevates a gazing perch to take advantage of the sweeping ocean views in every direction. The elegant deck extends forward to the sea where an outdoor fire pit awaits, offering a sumptuous entertaining space and, quite simply, the best seats in the house. If the weather turns, a covered entertainment area with outdoor fire provides protection from the elements – offering a number of options for the family and their guests to enjoy those elusive coastal vibes year-round.