Architectural Inspo: Castle Rock House, NZ

A modern, open air escape set in the remote Kiwi countryside

New Zealand is a land of extremes, no matter how you look at it. Mountain ranges jettison straight from the ocean and stretch high into the clouds, and just as abruptly they end, giving way to impossibly flat fields at what seems like a right angle. Lakes and fjords of the likes and size you’ve never seen are common place. Glaciers The slender country's 9,000+ miles of coastline is covered in sands of stark white and the blackest black. And that's just the flora; the fauna is just as wild. Go ahead and lump the Kiwi people in with the wild animals category too. You aren't likely to find a friendlier, more welcoming group, though it's best to catch them before drink two and three, and not five and six... or eight or nine.

Now, if there’s one thing Kiwi’s like more than tossing back some Speights at the local pub, it’s doing so it a bach, the not-so-elegant term for beach house. While the country is peppered with incredible examples of classic bach design, we recently came across the Castle Rock House, a distinctly modern take on the Kiwi classic vacation home. Designed by Auckland-based Herbst Architects—founded and run by a husband and wife team originally from South Africa—the modest, minimal bach finds its footprint perched atop a bluff overlooking the Whangarei Heads, a geographic treasure on NZ's North Island. Defined by two pavilions—one is for sleeping, the other living and entertaining—and Herbst’s trademark use of natural materials and wood slat walls and roofing, all of which works beautifully with the open design to invite the outdoors in. As the architects themselves describe, this is what distinguishes a holiday house from a suburban home. The open air shower certainly helps too.

Further details worth drooling over include a large outdoor fireplace and built-in barbecue on the rear deck, and a wood burning stove in the inner lounge area. Mid-century modern furnishings nicely complement the rustic nature of the exposed structure—tho if it were ours we might ditch the funny little Buddha statue. Come to think of it, if it were ours, we'd be there right now, and not writing this...

images courtesy Herbst Architects

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