Our February/March cover

Here's our new cover, which will be on newsstands February 1. This is our annual 'Art Houses' issue; the cover image was taken by photographer Jeremy Toth in an Auckland penthouse with an extraordinary art collection (the penthouse was designed by Cheshire Architects).

The skull artworks are by Andy Warhol, while the koru work in the background is by Gordon Walters. The sculpture on the hearth is by Francis Upritchard, and the carvings in the background are 19th-century ancestral protection figures from Belu, Timor.
Also in this issue: we visit artist Judy Millar's windswept home and studio (designed by Richard Priest) on a dramatic clifftop west of Auckland, Sarah Maxey's 1980s Wellington cottage by Roger Walker, a vineyard home in Hawkes Bay by Hillery Priest Architects, and some beautiful marae on the Mahia Peninsula, among many other things. We'll post outtakes from some of these shoots over the coming weeks.
Sarah Maxey's house will be featured on TV3's Sunrise tomorrow morning at about 8.40pm. We'll also post the link to that footage once it's available online.

Architecture at Sunrise

TV3's Sunrise featured architect Guy Tarrant's own home in Auckland this morning. You can take a look at this link:


Click on 'latest video' and you'll see the link there (we seem to be having trouble pasting the link into this site). It's entitled "Take a peek into a home on a slope".

Patrick Reynolds on Public Address

Photographer and HOME New Zealand contributor Patrick Reynolds has a very eloquent rant about Auckland's urban planning woes on Public Address that is attracting plenty of comment. It's at this link if you'd like to check it out:


One thing that jumped out at me in particular was this assertion of Patrick's:

"As a new world nation with lingering ideals of pioneering self-reliance we fancy the idea of building qua building. That is to say building as built, not thought. Built by proper men, the mythical 'good bloke', a type who now really only exists in beer advertisements, who can do anything, but of course would do nothing smartarse, which is to say: nothing smart".

This made me wonder if the architecture profession is sometimes guilty of underselling its own skills, or side-stepping open discussion of the intellectual rigour that is such a fundamental part of good architecture. I've often been surprised at how New Zealand architects, when discussing a building, so quickly fall into question-and-answer patterns relating to structure, the nuts and bolts of assembling a building rather than the thought process that went into the design. This is not to say that structure is not interesting, but it often seems like a roadbock in the way of a deeper discussion of a building's merits.

True, many architects also grasp at metaphors in a way that makes your eyes roll (partly because they often seem like self-conscious attempts to instill their buildings with some meaning), but there must still be a way to discuss architecture intelligently and approachably.

This is particularly relevant when you consider the sometimes-agonising coverage of the opening of the new Supreme Court in Wellington this week. Whether you admire the building or not, the media coverage made it clear that in general, we lack a vocabulary for articulating a clear response to new additions to our cityscape.


I'll be back on TV3's Sunrise this Friday continuing our series of tours of well-designed homes. This week, the camera crew is filming a house designed by architect Guy Tarrant in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn. Patrick Reynolds photographed it for the magazine back in 2005. It's a lovely example of how effective planning can make the most of what many would see as a far-too-difficult sloping back-section.

The home is predominantly north-facing and on one level, with one bedroom and a study located downstairs and opening onto a lawn. The living area in the image below is a single open-plan space that opens onto a terrace.

One of my favourite spaces in the house is the study, which is really a clever occupation of what in lesser hands would have been a simple corridor. You can also see in this photo how the upper and lower levels connect, via a timber-lined stairwell.
Tune into TV3 on Friday morning (I think I'll be on around 8.20am) for a full tour of the house. I'll also put up the weblink to the footage when it's available online.

A correction

Our apologies for this: on our December/January cover (and in the accompanying article), we incorrectly attributed the heart-shaped ceramic piece to Christine Thacker. The artist is actually Raewyn Atkinson.

You can see more of both Raewyn's and Christine's work at www.piecegallery.co.nz. Our apologies for the error.

Perry Davies

Good news from artist Perry Davies, who lives and works in the little Hawke's Bay hamlet of Ongaonga. Perry says there has been a rush on sales of his whimsical birdhouse sculptures and other works since he was featured in our December/January issue. Perry doesn't seem to have a website but you can easily find his telephone number in the White Pages if you're interested in commissioning him. The photograph is by Paul McCredie.

John Scott bach

One of my favourite houses in our current issue is the bach that the late John Scott designed for Bruce and Estelle Martin and their family near Hokitika (that's the model on Scott's original drawings in the image above). My parents live near Bruce and Estelle's house in Hawkes Bay, also designed by John Scott, and we often visited and bought pottery from them when I was a child. For me, John Scott's work has a magical combination of modesty and confidence, a quiet cleverness that is abundantly evident in the bach, which was photographed by Paul McCredie. Here's a view of the exterior:

And this is the living area upstairs:

This is a favourite shot of mine that we couldn't squeeze into the layout in the magazine. It has a beautiful stillness to it. It was taken on the ground floor of the bach, looking towards the stairwell.

Bruce and Estelle's son Craig Martin helped us a lot in producing our story about the bach. He also has an excellent website featuring many of John Scott's other works, which you should check out if you're interested. It is www.johnscott.net.nz. It's a fantastic resource for anyone curious about this hugely accomplished New Zealand architect.

Welcome back

Happy New Year everyone. Here at HOME New Zealand, we've been back since Monday, putting the finishing touches on our annual 'Art Houses' issue, which will be published in the first week of February. It's turning out to be an eclectic lineup of homes, from an art-filled (and very glamorous) Auckland penthouse to an amazing series of marae on the Mahia Peninsula. We'll post more information here once we get the mag off to the printers.

In this issue, we'll also be calling for entries to the 2010 Home of the Year award. This year we'll again be partnering with BMW to bring you the award issue in August, an issue that's always a highlight of our publishing calendar. Interested architects and homeowners will be able to find the entry form in the magazine.
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