Herbst Architects is a studio from New Zealand that has a fair amount of experience in designing summer homes, in particular in wood. However, when Mark Izzard contacted them to create a weekend home they didn’t expect to see two mobile prefabs, purchased by the owner because they were "practical and cheap".
This is how Lance and Nicola Herbst found two little rectangular buildings as the starting point of their project. The situation created a certain amount of difficulty because, in the words of the architects "we certainly couldn’t celebrate the aesthetics" of these prefabricated volumes.
They therefore chose to use the two volumes as a limit to define a space that acted as a living area and a communal space for the family. Thus one of the two pre-fabs houses the bedrooms and bathrooms, while the other contains the kitchen and a lounge in which to shelter from bad weather, leaving the communal area to join the whole and create a central space that is both open and covered.
After having taken the first step, they aimed to give the design an aesthetic uniformity. Lance and Nicola therefore chose to use an inverted roof and to cover the whole house in wood, their trademark. The covering lets pure light filter through but still maintains shade, creating natural ventilation which, together with rainwater collection, photovoltaic panels and a wooden stove-based heating system, renders the home completely self-sufficient.
Place: Auckland, New Zealand
Project team: Lance and Nicola Herbst
Photographs: Jackie Meiring