Mangatoetoe Bach, NgawiDream House Exhibition, Wellington City Gallery, Michael Hirshfield Gallery
Ann and Noel Gray’s bach at Mangatoetoe near Ngawi occupies an exposed site in a wild coastal environment; their request was for a simple concrete building that would withstand the elements. The design for the form of the building, a simplified abstraction of the form of a caravan, conceives of the bach as a kind of aerofoil or ship’s hull protecting the inhabitants from the prevailing north-west winds sweeping down from the hills behind. Despite the solidness of its concrete construction, the bach, with its inquisitive, sloping profile, looks as if it is ready at any moment to roll or drift away on another journey.
Responding to the simplicity of its external form, an equally pared back approach to materials is adopted in the interior, with a small, refined selection used to create the concrete floor, precast concrete walls, plywood walls and ceiling, membrane roof and aluminium windows. An uncomplicated interior layout, comprising two sleeping spaces and an open plan living room and kitchen, makes the most of the bare beauty of these surfaces, with strips of windows and glazed doors on both sides of the building allowing light to cross the space. The building is also designed for disabled use, offering easy level access.
A bold, whimsical statement in the complex textures of its natural surroundings, the Ngawi bach also provides, from within its cool, polished interior, a frame through which to view the extraordinary landscape of the Kaikoura coast.
Client: Ann and Noel Gray