The site - on a moraine wall formed by the retreating glacier - overlooks the glistening Ahuriri River in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. A new five-bedroom suite lodge is excavated into the moraine folds of the earth, the soaring timber and steel grid shell enfolding visitors in a protective cloak as they reflectively gather around the glowing hearth.
The fragility of the solitary human figure standing in the vast alpine tussock terrain is exacerbated by our knowledge of the powerful geological formation and the climate extremes that caused the great Pleistocene ice advances over 10,000 years ago. In this age of climate re-appraisal, we are uncertain of our future capability to survive in such vast circumstances, as we (once again) discover our primal interconnectedness with land, water and sky.
Good architecture reawakens our awareness of our spatial facility and delights us. How we perceive a place and its links to others has been thought, not least by Jean Piaget, to be a key moment in our mental development, a threshold in the growing of our internalised appreciation of what makes sense in this world of places, our mental space.
Leon Van Schaik (2015). The place of space in the architecture of ARM. Mongrel rapture: the architecture of Ashton Raggatt McDougall. Melbourne, Australia: Uro Publications.
Project Exhibited 2015, NZ Pavilion, Venice Architecture Biennale