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River Road House | Wairarapa

Project scope: A new house for Neil & Dawn McCallum at Martinborough, Wairarapa

Procurement methodology: Builder appointed early on P&G/margin. Two subcontractors tendered on each trade. 

Consultancy service scope: architectural lead full services

Completion date: 2005

Personnel involved: Christopher Kelly, James Fenton, Steven Waterman, Arindam Sen, Melissa Green 

Consultants: Structure_DTC, Services_eCubed, Landscape_Megan Wraight

 

In the Riverside Road House, the technology is not visible.  The simplicity and calmness of the heavy precast vaults belies the collaborative expertise of the structural engineer Alistair Cattanach, the builder Ron Allan and the fabricator Stresscrete.  These heavy units (130 tonnes) have been placed almost geologically, aligned like the alluvial gravels of the old Ruamahanga River embankment - very appropriate ‘dwelling terroir’ for the clients Neil and Dawn McCallum founder of the esteemed Dry River pinot label, one of the first in Martinborough.  The vaults are buried into the promontory ridge and aligned like a series of ‘telescopes’ towards Lake Onoke to the south and the wide sweep of the valley contained between Bull Hill and the Orongorongo ranges.

 

‘A serene place desired by the clients is architecturally realised and intensely experienced in siting, plan and section.  Imprinted atop a small knoll in the Wairarapa, the house achieves a secure vantage point scanning surrounding hills and the valley below.  Rooms cluster around an internal courtyard, providing psychological and physical shelter from the extensive landscape and big weather.  In section, concrete barrel vaults ground the house solidly in the land.  A cool palette of ceramic floor tiles, stone walls and concrete roof reinforce this solidity, subtly relieved by warm native timbers consistently framing openings.  The strategy of repetitive construction elements enables a few beautiful architectonic details to achieve a thoroughly resolved calm aesthetic and clarity of overall intention.’

-  NZIA National Awards Jury_comment 2007

 

Awards

NZIA Local Architecture Award, 2006

NZIA New Zealand Architecture Award, 2007

New Zealand Concrete Society Award, 2007

 

Publications

Harrison, S. (2010). A place in the sun: new residential architecture. Fishermans Bend, Victoria: Thames & Hudson Australia. 

Walsh, J. (2007, March). Journey Man. House New Zealand. (03). pp. 89-104

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