Bach with 2 Roofs

Bach with 2 Roofs

Irving Smith Architects
n/a, New Zealand
Project Year
Private Houses
Patrick Reynolds

Bach with 2 Roofs

Irving Smith Architects as Architects

New Zealand was the last landmass to be inhabited, and then deforested with unrivalled speed. Its new clearedlandscapes are still so young they shift, when they failnewnative trees grow. It might take a hundred years or more, but buildings that participate in this shift couldonedayinhabit near-original forest. This is something new, for New Zealand architecture was established and has remained in clearings.To inhabit its original forest landscape, architecture must understand existing contextrather than generate new landscapes, it must be soft, patient and ready to change;as we exhibited at the 2015 Prague International Architecture Festival entitled Soft-Context:Soft-Architecture.

Bach-with-Two-Roofs found itself in a shifting landscape.We designed four buildingsbetween 2007 and 2012to provideholiday accommodation in an exotic forest. Shelteringlow beneathimported eucalypts, the buildings have sacrificial roofing and recessiveinteriors, and sharethe space between trees. Holidays were private and hidden. In 2014 a cyclone cleared the forest. The two roofslimit damage, but the buildings require more than repair, they need re-finishing. Without the treesthe site is exposed, the wind stronger, the sun hotter, even the buildings’ colour and proportions feel misplaced. Holidays here aren’t supposed to be about hidingand findingshade. The post-cyclone additions re-finish the buildings to thenew clearing, but do so by understanding a landscape that continues to shift, and a native forest that in time will again conceal and shelter. A shade building is added, filtering light and sittinglow for the main buildings to recede behind. Framestacklightly to existing structures, widening cover and shadow to provide privacy and retreat. But these new elements are adaptable and expect to be repositioned and changed as the forest grows. Holidays resume, but being finished is finished, this landscape is shifting…

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