The Glass House

The site for this project is located on privately owned ,gently rolling rural coastal land located 70 km north of New Zealand's largest population centre ,Auckland city. The primary function within this building is the retailing and tasting of wine vintages produced on the property. Associated with this is tapas' dining prepared from locally grown produce & a sculpture trail that meanders along the lake edge, through the adjacent grape vines, grazing pastures And native bush. A kitchen, wine cellar; public amenities and administration facility are by necessity also housed within. I aspired to design a site-specific building that captured the atmosphere of the historical & current industries of the area; that is to say, a building which referred to the agricultural roots (slatted timber floors & open sides of the adjacent shearing sheds) and the glass transparency and necessary shade cloth of the horticultural hot house.) As a gateway, this structure straddles the original dam bar to the adjacent lake & transfers the visitor from the new urban surrounds to the mysteries of the concealed sculpture walk , vineyard & sheep farm beyond ; it being required to be a sheltered space of conflicting activities; transience & rest (as was the original colonial verandah) The modular construction in materials of steel & glass, while economical, minimizes the buildings mass within the landscape retaining the visitors immediacy with the surrounding rural /coastal environment; its' textures, colours, sounds & smells. Areas designated for private activities (food prep; administration; ablutions & storage) are defined as containers of colour & light & are thus clearly visible as aside from the adjacent communal areas. At night these modules become lanterns of light flooding the landscape in colour. Initially approached by vehicle from above, the building contains the lake edge & softly encloses the viewers’ vista, while the bridging nature of the structure ,spanning west to east ,emphasizes the gorge running from the spring fed lake to the sea beyond. On the final approach by foot from below, the building passes above the earth & lake allowing the lake surplus & surrounding day light to wash beneath it. The earth is touched lightly.

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