Mark Frazerhurst Architects 4 Gatehouse

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Mark Frazerhurst
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Mark Frazerhurst
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Natalie Keane, Kate Frazerhurst
  • Client
    Gretchen Williamson

This small project brief called for additional living and sleeping space added to an existing historic bach on Waiheke Island, as space for extended family to stay. We diverted away from the intent of an addition to the existing building, after consideration of the attributes of the overall site, and a desire to retain the characteristics of the existing historic bach, which we felt was deserving of holistic conservation.

The approach to the existing bach was down a fairly exposed and noncommittal gravel path, from the top of the site, and we felt a separate building as a ‘gatehouse’ within this zone would act as a covered link from entry to the site to the main building, as well as providing an opportunity to encompass view and sunshine, as well as coexisting, rather than dominating the existing building.

The form and positioning of the new stand alone building follows the site’s natural topography; is split over levels both internally and externally; and orientates to align and frame views both through and from within to the north and south coasts of the island. The approach from the road sees the new sleepout stand as sentry over the site, and creates a demarcated transition from public to private realm through the gateway.

The new structure encompasses a sleeping space; bathroom; living space; a semi-indoor/outdoor transitional link between site entry and existing bach; and a sheltered outdoor living space between the new and old buildings.

We picked up on elements of the existing bach, as well as an old tin woodshed on the property in the conceptualisation of an aesthetic palette of materials - weathered timber, corrugated iron, battened claddings and linings - and reinterpreted these into the new structure. The new building is dressed in weathered thermally modified bandsawn timber on the outer shell, and black profiled vertical steel cladding with the interstitial gateway space. The weathered skin is punctuated in part as a screen with varying degrees of openness, blurring the boundary between inside and outside.

Galvanised mesh as platform level changes underfoot allows ground creeper planting to grow into the building footprint, and provide a naturally immersive experience as you transition through the site.

In contrast to the exterior and semi-exterior of the building, the interior is pared back to a white-on-white aesthetic, and incorporating references to the historic bach such as battened ceilings, whitewashed floors, and simple décor.

The resulting structure, successfully acts as a spatial delineator upon entry to the site between public and private realms; respectfully acknowledges the existing historic building, utilising modern materials, techniques, and forms; and provides a partially covered and enclosed experiential transition through the site, while providing the additional living and sleeping areas required by the original brief.