Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects - Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Tauranga

HMOA Up North: Whangarei House Under Construction:

June 8, 2021

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Our client’s vision for a small site on the edge of an escarpment is inspiring. HMOA’s design for a three-bedroom house with pool and views is well underway with the exterior walls under construction.

Dream team: Architect, Builder, Client

Architect Olly Markham says a feature of the house is its extensive use of in-situ concrete, but the project is made special by the client’s eye for quality and the expert skills of the onsite builder to realise the design with great care.

Whangarei house framing website

Small site, big potential for architecturally-designed house

Foreseeing a re-zoning to ‘mixed-use commercial’, the central Whangarei site was purchased in anticipation of the plan change. The existing leaky home was demolished and work is now well underway for a three-story home, previously not permitted in the residential zoning that had a height limit of 8 metres.

lints house plans smaller

HMOA’s concept will see the three level house reach 15 metres high. In keeping with the lifestyle of the winterless north, the top level is predominantly for living and is mainly a covered outdoor room with built-in BBQ. There’s also an open plan kitchen/living area and a snug. Views reach to the city, up the river towards Mount Parahaka and across to the new Hundertwasser Museum.

The second level houses the bedrooms and provides access to the pool while the ground floor includes the garage, entry spaces and plenty of storage.

Crazy about the concrete

Project Architect, Olly Markham sounds most excited about the design’s use of in-situ concrete. He’s full of praise for the client’s eye for quality and the specialist skills and care of onsite builder, Toby, who originally trained as an architect.

“In-situ concrete is time-consuming and expensive, so it often gets removed from a design due to budget,” Olly says, “It’s labour-intensive to set up all the formwork but the results are worth the time and effort, it’s so tactile. It’s not only beautiful to look at but also to touch.”

Whangarei House HMOA and RHJ Builders website

The core of the house is the staircase featuring a fin of in-situ concrete that spirals between the floors.  Cedar is also a key material and will contrast the concrete, with landscaping already underway to further connect the house to the site.

Construction conversations and plenty of video

Whangarei house builder websiteOur client onsite, perhaps with feedback for Olly! 

Communications on the project has been excellent with client, architect and builder all keeping in touch every step of the way. Olly says it’s been great to work with a team of Whangarei professionals, especially local building company Richard Hilton-Jones (RHJ Builders). Richard keeps Olly and HMOA director John Melhuish in touch with regular WhatsApp messages; impressive videos and images of progress on site.  Like this beauty from a concrete test. Watch a video of the construction here

Whangarei House concrete test website

 All images courtesy of RHJ Builders.