Mann House
Mann House is located on a ridge looking east to Paroa Bay in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. The site looks to an array of islands nestling in the Pacific Ocean, principal amongst them Motuarohia Island upon which Captain James Cook first landed in 1769. The horizontality of the ocean, the linearity of the islands and the voluptuous landscape present a complex visual setting for this simple house. The desire to live in the open space of this overwhelming landscape is the primary informant of the design – the primitive platform in nature. Fred and Kitty Mann live in an apartment in San Francisco and this retreat enables them to embed themselves in the isolation and majesty of the New Zealand seascape – habitation in an ephemeral structure on the edge of the vast Pacific. The form of the building therefore becomes somewhat self-evident – the creation of a minimalist structure in the rural tradition with appropriate passive environmental controls. To achieve the sense of occupation in nature, the walls are principally planes of fixed and ventilating glass, clad with retractable blinds to shield the building from the afternoon sun. The primary elevation facing north is a deep verandah – a space of transition from the enclosure of shelter to the ambiguity of “edge”. In winter the warming morning sun penetrates deep onto the platform, whilst in summer the the building edges protect and moderate the light and heat of the southern hemisphere sun. The structure remains in its elemental steel state, walls are clad with metal sheeting, reminiscent of the original settlers’ agricultural architecture of minimum means and maximum effect. By the use of these materials and finishes, the building reads in the landscape as a rigorous manmade object - its only possible articulation in the presence of such a powerful landscape.


22 photos and 3 drawings

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