Up until this point I have not had to be an architect, but simply a father, a husband and an investor. Now that the purchase of the site is finalised, we have to decide what buildings we are going to put on it. My first response is to start drawing. So I do. Like a mad man. It isn’t until I show my family the initial sketches that I realise the misstep I have taken. Although Angela appreciated the work in my designs, I did not consult her or the girls to ask what they wanted from our holiday home. My excitement had gothanmer-55 the better of me and I had, for once in my career, forgotten to take a client brief! These first designs were shelved almost immediately and I doubt they will have much influence on our end design.

Once again, we needed to talk as a family! There is no way around it, in order to design the holiday home that will fulfill our dreams, we need to make some decisions. We know that on holiday we don’t require the same comforts of our daily home, some of the fun of being on holiday is making do with what you have and simply enjoying each other’s company. We think a lot about the compromises made whilst camping. We’ve all made the midnight dash across the campsite in our PJs to use the bathrooms, and yet this hasn’t stopped us from going camping the next year. Camping requires an adjustment to a different environment in order to enjoy the holiday, something we want to replicate in a permanent holiday home.

When we considercamping who will be using the space, we realise we need it to be comfortable for two people, four people and up to 20 people. BUT we do not want a space that is designed for 20 people to be there at all times. So we need a bach that can adapt to the situation, whilst maintaining that classic kiwi holiday feeling of ‘making do’. So many kiwis have fond memories of holidays with extended families, squished into a tent with their cousins, bellies full of barbequed sausages for the third night in a row, creating memories that last a lifetime. We want to create that feeling, where the experience and the company around you is what is important and remembered and not whether there was a comfortable spot on the couch for everyone. We want to create a space that can accommodate 20 people but isn’t necessarily designed to be comfortable with that number.

How can we design a space for our family of four that can accommodate large groups and yet still be comfortable and appropriate for two people when Angela and I want time away? The concept of multiple buildings on the site begins to develop, stemming from our time camping and the sense of community that forms as tents pop up and more space is occupied. We decide that although we want permanent structures on the site, we want to position them in such a way that temporary structures can be added as needed.

Since discovering the answer, our excitement has grown. The holiday home we dreamed of has become a collection of buildings designed to expand and contract at will so that different groups can use the space at one time. The space will be far more domestic with fewer occupants and create a campground feel as more arrive. We want to position the buildings around a
communal outside space, a large lounge, mimicking that feeling of community in a campground, including spaces for temporary structures to be incorporated. Although the site will have the capacity to adapt for 20 occupants, we want our family and friends to know that comfort will be compromised with that many people, but we hope they will be there to spend time together and make memories not to live in the lap of luxury. In fact, from some of the buildings, a midnight dart outside to the bathroom may be required!

We’ve made a big step; we’ve decided what we want on the site. As the architecture develops will we begin to doubt our decisions? Can our vision be turned into some feasible? As the doubt creeps in and the stress levels rise we wonder if we should just plan a holiday in
Europe instead!     hanmer

Published on Wednesday, December 21st, 2016