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Captivating retreat: Tim Nees


A hidden Banks Peninsula retreat captured the judges’ eyes at the New Zealand Institute of Architects Canterbury Awards 2020.

 

EDDIE SIMON PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Architect Tim Nees has fronted New Work Studio for more than two decades and his latest project sits among 35 shortlisted for the Canterbury Awards.

The stunning design is one of 13 represented in the Housing category.

While Tim’s clients were ensconced in their 135m dream home, judges had to forgo the usual onsite visits to projects, due to Covid-19 restraints.

Instead Tim was interviewed by phone to paint parts of the picture that photos could not express.

“Nothing beats being there – seeing, smelling, touching,” Tim says.

“These aspects are the essence of a home. However, judges used photos and plans to get a sense of the experience of the home.”

Tim recognised this achievement was a collaborative effort with his clients, and Huntley Quinn Construction.

“Huntley was a good, solid communicator and great solution finder.”

The house is named Houhere, aka Lacewood, after a native tree common to the area.

Construction used little steel and concrete, and instead the sustainable build incorporated nature – macrocarpa, Douglas fir, purpleheart and larch.

Solar power, two water tanks, a generator, and gas heating was integral to the design – off-grid living is at this home’s heart and reason.


 

Secluded Beauty


An iconic build, which also blends naturally into the secluded Banks Peninsula site, was the creative challenge presented to award-winning Architect Tim Nees.

 

 

“The brief was for an informal weekend retreat, to eventually become their retirement home,” he says.

“It was designed not only for the look, but to take advantage of water views and hillside vistas on each side, while letting in light and breezes.”

Self-sustaining and completely off the grid, with two water-collection tanks, the surrounding four hectares was once part of an old farm.

“It has been left by the clients to ‘re-wild’ itself,” says Tim, who recently designed his own unique seaside escape.

“The clients were really happy, saying it was like a work of art – and beyond beautiful! It almost feels like an architectural tramping hut to me.”

The saw-tooth roof, painted heritage red, has its highest points facing the east to catch the morning sun.

Two bedrooms on either end and a cosy nook up a few steps surround the open-plan high-stud living areas.

 

A purposeful mix of non-treated timber features throughout the 172 square metre interior including exposed beams of macrocarpa and Douglas fir, a well-oiled plywood floor and walls lined with birch plywood.

A solid-timber kitchen bench top was sourced by the clients. The deck of purple heart, like the larch cladding, was left to silver over time.

Huntley Quinn was our builder,” Tim says.

“He was exceptional at thinking through the challenging strategy of working in a remote location, and very organised and honest. The communication was great, which was very important.”

The award-winning construction firm hired a bach about 15 minutes away, where his crew of six stay during the week.

As a second-generation builder and Project Manager for 29 years, Huntley also spent a day or two each week on the tools.

Completed last year, Huntley says it was quite a technical build with a lot of joinery, complex roof and an elevated subfloor.

“Logistically it was a challenge, but enjoyable and rewarding – especially with building through all four seasons, from scorching heat to snow.

We achieved the right balance of design to budget through a very close collaboration between architect, builder and client.”

 


 

Tim Nees: New Work Studio / Tim Nees Architects Director

The Influencers Column: Tim Nees

Tim Nees: New Work Studio / Tim Nees  Architects Director
Tim Nees: New Work Studio / Tim Nees Architects Director

For the past two years I have been Branch Chair of the NZ Institute of Architects here in Canterbury, leading the committee through a number of programmes and events that have increased public awareness of the practice of architecture. Last week I stepped aside for a new Chair – Mike Callaghan – to lead further changes and improvements over the next two years.
It is vitally important that the work of architects is understood in all its complexity and richness, and not judged solely on the resulting buildings. And it is important that buildings are understood not just as objects we walk or drive past, but things we inhabit and experience in all sorts of ways. Buildings are ‘mini-worlds’ and we are the ‘life-form’ they support and interact with. So to encourage the public to engage with buildings they might not normally engage with is of vital importance for the profession.
Ways of doing this will be what drives The Festival of Architecture in September this year. Not only will there be open studios and city walks, but backstage passes opening the doors to the backrooms and service spaces of some of the buildings in the city. There will also be lectures and presentations showcasing future work coming up in the city, and also talks and discussions around the buildings we have and the buildings we’ve lost. And these discussions will be extended into the virtual arena, through on-line engagement with community groups and other professional bodies.