The Point Wells Gables
“Under the boardwalk, down by the sea,” sung The Drifters on their famous 1964 hit. This Point Wells Gables house doesn’t quite match the lyrics, but it is on the Omaha estuary and a striking internal boardwalk is one of the key features of the award-winning design from architects Aaron Paterson and Steven Lloyd.
The centre of this beautifully crafted, timber dwelling is two farmhouse-like wings running north to south, connected by the boardwalk, which goes east to west and creates an interconnected series of living spaces and courtyards. There is also a gabled guest wing and garage that provide a bookend to the main structure.
“Beautifully simple but very complex,” is how Steven sums up the design. “There is a lot of detail.”
Aaron continues, “Everything you can see has got a connection. There is nothing seamless about it so you can see all the elements that come together to make the house – the fireplace, the cladding, the exposed beams all have that sense of being crafted. A lot of modernism is a reductive process – all the construction is concealed – but this house is the antithesis of that.”
Completed in 2015, the Point Wells Gables has won a string of honours, including the Residential Architectural Excellence trophy at the New Zealand Wood Resene Timber Design Awards. It was also shortlisted for Home of the Year at the Home Magazine Awards in 2017.
According to Steven and Aaron, one of the joys of the project was the opportunity to deploy different aspects of traditional timber construction throughout the house and create the perfect balance for the different colours, grains and textures.
They also like the way the open plan design supports how each of the living spaces is used and the way the large pivot doors and windows provide light and warmth to the different rooms.
“Once you move into the building, at different times of the day there are different spaces you can be in,” Aaron says. “There is a real celebration of lightness and darkness as you walk through the building. Big cathedral space is automatically appealing to people but there are also lots of little spots and rooms in the building that have lovely light qualities, often because of the very high roof. The interior in spots can be dark because of the roof but there are always moments of light.”
Although based in central Auckland, the pair have worked on a variety of different projects in this part of the world. “We know the area well,” says Steve, as they have recently been working on houses in Mangawhai and Matakana, plus another in Point Wells.
But while Point Wells Gables was very much a high-end assignment, they stress that they can cater for a wide range of budgets. “We’re also doing a lot of really good, robust and economical houses in the area,” Aaron says. “We like to keep things relatively simple in the way the plan makes really lovely spaces. We work to all different scales and to all different budgets.”