Wellington practice continues to excel

Wellington’s Holmes Architecture is continuing its high strike rate at the Architectural Designers New Zealand (ADNZ) Resene Architectural Design Awards, taking out three awards for three entries in this year’s competition.

This year, Holmes Architecture owner Mike Holmes won a Wellington/Wairarapa Regional Residential New Home over 300sqm Archi- tectural Design Award for his project ‘Krause House’, a Highly Commended Award in the Residential New Home between 150sqm and 300sqm Category for his work on ‘Horse and Cart House’, and a Commended Award in the Residential Alterations and Additions Category for ‘Stewart Renovation’.
Mike says due to its nature, the renovation project was probably the most challenging of the three winning projects, but also very satisfying, because it was so extensive.

“The house is unrecognisable from what it was,” he says.
“There wasn’t a lot of value in the existing house, it had been changed so many times over the years and it didn’t meet the clients’ requirements at all.”

Still it was pleasing to work with the existing house, and to retain whatever value it had. As he intended to keep some of the original building, Mike wanted it to shine through as well.

“So the exterior of the house is still very readable.
“We’ve got the white weatherboard cladding there, and we’ve added on to that from the front elevation with a new part that has inte- grated well with what was there.”

Mike had to find a way to get sun into the backyard from the street side of the house, while also creating privacy from the street.
So he staggered the second storey addition back from the garage at the front, successfully making way for the afternoon sun to come in over the top of the garage.

Mike’s two new home designs were at opposite ends of the scale.
The Krause House with its big budget and high performance systems, and the Horse and Cart House for a young family with a small budget who wanted a nice simple building with a bit of extra architectural detailing to lift it to something unique.

The Krause House had the biggest budget of any project Holmes Architecture had taken on at the time.

“You still work through the same process, understanding the brief, understanding the site, and how those two things relate to each other.

“It’s nice you don’t have to put the brakes on, you don’t have to compromise on some of these spaces, and you can express yourself with a bit more detail and a bit more size.

“At the same time I don’t like the idea of spending money on details that people don’t notice, so you still have to pick your battles.”

Mike had to specify a lot of technical products in this project, a super-insulated, airtight, SIPS panel home with mechanical ventilation, and some of these he’d never worked with before.

So he had the place modelled in order to understand how those products worked together and have confidence his specifications were the right way to go.

“It’s got a lot going on, and it’s a beautiful result. I’m really proud of that one.”

The Horse and Cart House in Greytown is a traditional timber frame building, and the challenge here was around how to make the architecture unique without having lot of money to do it.

The site is heritage-zoned so its development required a considered approach, and the result is a reference to the utilitarian his- tory of the area and the vernacular stables of the Cobb & Co era mail and passenger service.

The timber-clad, mono pitched form of the stable buildings has been reinterpreted with vertical board and batten cladding as a counterpoint to horizontal cedar detailing.

Mike says his clients have made a really nice job of finishing their home, with immaculate interiors and landscaping.

Written by Kelly Deeks.