Herbst Architects under the Pohutukawa trees in New Zealand

Lance Herbst, Nicola Herbst,

Auckland, New Zealand,

Sport & Wellness, Ville,


The Pohutukawa tree is typical of New Zealand. An evergreen with red flowers, it even grows on rocks. Herbst Architects built this home in the middle of a Pohutukawa forest, where, of course, they gave priority to the trees.

Herbst Architects under the Pohutukawa trees in New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand. Architects Lance and Nicola Herbst were asked to design a villa in the middle of a forest of Pohutukawa trees, which have great cultural significance in New Zealand for their power and beauty. The architects built their project around the trees rather than uprooting them.

During the briefing the spaces were divided into private and common areas, so that the architects could work by organising smaller volumes. The structure of the home is in fact broken up into two towers containing the bedrooms and the garage, joined by a central volume containing common areas.

The two towers are a reference to Pohutukawa wood, like the stumps of recently cut-down trees, covered with crosspieces of timber arranged vertically and covered with sawdust from the same tree.
The central part not only connects the two towers but inspires a dialogue with the forest around it. To achieve this result, Lance and Nicola Herbst used the structure of the roof to create an intermediate space that could be a building and at the same time imitate the tree: the little wooden beams supporting the windows emulate the forms of the Pohutuwaka tree, recalling the bower of branches and leaves living around the building.

Francesco Cibati

Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Year: 2011
Architects: Lance Herbst, Nicola Herbst
Photos: Patrick Reynolds, Cornwallis


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