Pakawau Bach, Golden Bay

To say that a building has been increased in size 8 fold could make you think this project was massive but when the original building was a 6m2 sleepout and the completed addition is 50m2 you realise we are going from tiny to small.

The site is one of those magical Golden Bay hideaways, an established bach community on a sandspit with the ocean one side and estuary on the other. Previously the Owner had used the property more like a campsite with outside kitchen and bath. She had built the tiny sleepout and moved an old country library building, also very small, on site to be used as a second sleepout. The existing trees mean that there is almost no sun or light from the east and north. Living here is all about the ever changing estuary to the west and camping in the trees.

The brief was to add on to the existing sleepout on the edge of the estuary, literally a few metres from the high tide mark. The Owner was very clear about respecting the sensitive location – no totaras to be removed, recessive colours, composting toilet, simplicity. She asked for a single living space with sleeping loft, bathroom and improved deck.

Working with a 5m height restriction the solution was to provide a 5m high mono pitched space angled to the view across the estuary and capturing the mountains to the south. A lean-to on the dark northern side houses the bathroom and composting toilet. The single living space uses high level lighting to capture every bit of available sun and light while giving the sleeping loft some special tree top views. The living area opens into the original sleepout which is still the number one sleeping spot and the new deck ties the new and old together.

The building sits lightly on the site with the deck just high enough to avoid the highest of tides.

A simple palette of materials was chosen – timber framing, karaka green colorsteel roof and walls, grey aluminium joinery, plywood ceilings, gib walls and macrocarpa joinery.

The furniture and furnishings are a mix of kiwi bach, pacifika and found objects and further anchor this bach right where it belongs.

Design: Min Hall
Arthouse Architecture team: Sophie Steele, Janine Mitchell, Anna Wallace
Builder: Peter Randall, Neil Baker
Photography: Elspeth Collier and Arthouse Architecture Ltd
Completed: 2004