There is a lovely project on the boards at the moment where I am working on the balance between openness and enclosure, the need for light and an expansion into the garden and the need to set this against the solid form of the old existing house … without feeling as though we have tacked on a ‘conservatory’. Our climate in Auckland veers from tropical to temperate, four seasons in one day is typical rather than unusual. Shelter that lets you experience and be a part of the landscape without being exposed to the the strong winds and the random rain shower is essential.
It’s interesting researching forms of the glass house through history. I have nothing against the modern ‘philip johnson’ glass box forms – done well they can be an amazing addition to a really old property, its just sometimes its just a little too extreme for a few houses and clients. One needs find a way of balancing and combining the two elegantly using more traditional typologies (without diving directly into the ornamentation of victorian greenhouses!) and also looking at different material options available to us now to frame these opaque and translucent panes. I think I have a few more sketches to do yet….!
An example of a design using a traditional ‘glass house’ typology that we visited recently is at the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, this is a beautiful sustainable vineyard which displays works of New Zealand sculptors around its grounds. The cafe and wine tasting room is housed in the glass form, by Noel Lane, that spans over a lake and stream and is grounded by a concrete wine cellar at the end. Coloured boxes rest beneath the floating gable roof, housing services and utilities. A simple way of experiencing the land from within….while enjoying a glass of wine!