WORDS Anna Scaife PHOTOS Dennis Radermacher
ARCHITECT Young Architects
BUILDER Metzger Builders Limited (MBL)
The essence of the brief for this graceful urban dwelling was clear. The clients wished for simple forms, embodied with the natural warmth of timber, inspired by a Central Otago aesthetic. The couple’s specific request for a gable form silhouette was an intentional nod to their former home, a loved Warren and Mahoney house.
Engaged by the clients to bring these ideas to life, Greg Young, director at Young Architects says, “The brief was for simple and unadorned, and it works. My clients were very strong on wanting to bring in the Central Otago influence, so we played with that, letting the materials speak for themselves.”
Clad in Canadian red cedar, the deep black stain emphases the simplicity and symmetry of the homes’ silhouette. Inside, exposed cedar scissor trusses serve as a dramatic focal point in an interior that favours finishes mainly drawn from nature; stone, wood and steel feature strongly throughout the open Interior spaces.
Built on a narrow site, the elegantly proportioned home consists of two distinct pavilions, the west comprising the open plan living area with the master suite above, and the east pavilion housing the garage, office and three further bedrooms. The spaces are bright and airy, courtesy of the loft-like ceilings and expansive glazing. To counter the jarring acoustics that can accompany such open spaces, Greg Young recommended using acoustic plywood in the dining area and carpeting the lounge.
The handmade trusses and extensive use of plywood were two of many details that set this house apart from other builds for Mark Metzger of MBL and his team, tasked with the construction and expert carpentry required for a build of this type. Mark says, “The trusses are a key element of the design, and they had to go up first, so we had to work around them while protecting them from the weather,” he adds, “there are 500 bolts in those trusses.” The plywood interior cladding requires a steady hand too, Mark says, “Plywood is unforgiving, there’s no margin of error – if anything goes wrong it looks terrible.”
Assigned to ensure the extensive timber elements of the design were executed to the highest standard, was MBL’s foreman, Dusty Schad. Greg Young says of Dusty’s painstaking work, “He put his heart and soul into it. In fact, the clients’ decision to work with MBL was paramount to the end result. They did an amazing job; the carpentry is the best I’ve seen.”
Selected through a tender process as the result of recommendations from previous clients, and on the strength of a portfolio of impressive projects, MBL focuses on building strong relationships with the architect and the client, knowing that is what makes the difference when embarking on a complex project. Mark says, “Enjoyment of the build process is as important as the product. We had not collaborated with Greg Young before and thoroughly enjoyed working with him and the clients. Greg’s designs are funky, and we love the look of this home.”
Knowing the extensive joinery and glazing was key to the successful delivery of the design, MBL contracted Rylock to supply and install high-specification windows and doors for the build. Selected to complement the architectural style and meet the clients’ requirements for functionality, the chosen product was Rylock’s 40 Pacific Architectural PRO Suite, powder coated to achieve a colour and finish called Mannex Matt Black. Colour matched hardware from the Malta range was mostly used with the addition of Chant sliding door snibs.
Warmth and noise were both factors that needed to be carefully considered given the amount of glass in the design, and Rylock suggested Viridian double glazing super clear Low-E glass for improved thermal performance plus laminate to dramatically reduce UV and noise penetration into the house. Proud to have been a part of the project team working on this exceptional property, Ricky Facoory from Rylock says, “The windows and doors are an outstanding feature of this home which has achieved a beautiful balance between form and function.”
The homeowners, who had endured a long and exhausting process to put earthquake claims behind them, are now settled in and delighted with their new home. Greg Young says, “Our process at Young Architects is to take a brief and create the concepts, and then we continue to work on that until we get it right. It can go through several iterations and that works well because we know we have it before we get into the detail. For this house our client had a very good eye and excellent taste, so they were very easy to work with.”
Mark Metzger is justifiably proud of the quality finish on this stunning home, “This was very much a craftsman’s build given attention to detail needed to get the result the house warranted. It was a pleasure to work on.”