The New Zealand Perspective: Habitus House Of The Year 2019

Habitus House of the Year is a chance to highlight remarkable new architecture from the region. Houses that inspire us through their craft and care, that echo the past while pointing to the future with new techniques and typologies.

As a regional survey, we get the chance to contrast designs born from different climates, economies, cultures and aesthetics. Identities and values expressed within a residential context. Sites for experimentation. We watch as the building sheds its clothes from New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic south through to equatorial Singapore. From stone and concrete, thermal bridges and triple glazing, we travel right through to the lightness and openness of the tropics.

I’ve had the pleasure to review the cold south with two new houses at the edge of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Bivvy House and Arrowtown House have had to comply with the strictest regulations for seismic strength, energy performance and sensitivity to a remarkable natural landscape. They shirk the conservative ‘Queenstown house’ type by adopting abstract forms, industrial materials and innovative planning. They are houses to challenge previous archetypes and lead us into new territory.

The third house representing Aotearoa is the Huru House. Set on the east coast of the North Island, this project responds to a milder, coastal climate and the clients’ love of all things Japanese. The hunkering, cave-like quality of the mountain houses are swapped for floating timber decks, deep overhangs to shed sun and rain, and a finer, timber architecture. The light quality and humidity are quite different – we’ve swapped the electric-dry climate of the alps for the thrill of cicada-summers in Poverty Bay.

From bold form-making to delicate timber craft, the New Zealand selection shows its internationalism, but also its regionalism. Ideas that were ultimately generated by the locale and crystallised by architecture in miniature – the single-family house.

As a regional ‘best of’, Habitus House of the Year consolidates its architectural survey to a unique yet diverse area of the globe. By supporting and broadcasting these architectural stories from Southeast Asia and Australasia, Habitus is growing the awareness, interest, celebration and spotlight on an architecture defined strongly by climate, materials and place.

Habitus House of the Year
habitusliving.com/houseoftheyear

Habitus House Of The Year wouldn’t exist without the support of our friends, colleagues and regular collaborators in the industry. We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to our Major Partners Gaggenau, StylecraftHOME and Zip and Supporting Partners Armadillo & Co and Earp Bros. Our Trophy Partner Axolotl and our Accommodation Partner Ovolo Laneways. Likewise we would like to recognise our Television Partners for joining us on our journey to a new medium.