Concrete Bungalow

A new build in Mt Maunganui, the project site had a gradual slope heading away from the road to an existing level backyard behind a Huntly brick house built in 1950-60’s. The existing house was organised in a traditional manner with habitable spaces located in upper first level divorced from the ground due to the lower basement garaging below. Due to the nature of the surrounding properties, the site offered no potential views of the ocean beyond or views of Mauao, however the site did offer delightful views over the road to existing mature Pohutukawa trees that border Mt Maunganui Primary School’s playing fields.

As the intention was to remove the existing house leaving a vacant site, there were no planning constraints beyond the standard District Plan requirements that applied to the site. While the site had no constraints, our client raised concerns expressed by their neighbour, about a loss of privacy in their backyard, primarily around their swimming pool, which is located at a lower ground level relative to our client’s site.

The client’s brief was for a four-bedroom home to accommodate their extended family and large boat. In response Architecture Bureau’s design approach was to create separate outdoor courtyard areas divided by a central living area which all share views of the Pohutukawa trees across the road. The boat garage has been intentionally stacked behind the garage to discretely park the boat and maximise the width of the living area to open views of the Pohutukawa trees through the house. From the road, the setback position the house and the formation of a raised front outdoor courtyard provides a sense of sanctuary from the prying eyes of pedestrians, and reduces buildings visual bulk from the road.

Our client produces concrete agricultural and building products, so from any early stage using the materiality of concrete was part of the client’s initial brief, as this provided cost efficiencies for our client. On this basis, the primary construction typography is pre-cast concrete panels, using a mixture of insulated and non-insulated panels. Due to the coastal location the assessment of additional exterior material selections was particularly concerned about avoiding high maintenance materials, that would corrode or require regular painting or recoating. For both external and internal the remaining material selections were assessed around providing balance to the inherent nature of the concrete to often feel cold and drab.

Architecture Bureau often works closely with an interior designer, Annique Heesen from Gezellig Interiors Ltd, to assist us and our client’s navigate the numerous, often over whelming range of material choices for their homes, including liaising with material suppliers and electrical, plumbing and joinery subcontractors during construction. We invited Annique to collaborate on this project with us towards the end of the developed design stage, once our client had approved the overall interior and exterior design aesthetic. For this project Annique, assisted our client with reviewing and refining their final interior finishes for timber veneers, tiles, cabinetry design, plumbing fixtures, light fittings, soft furnishings and carpets.

Aspects of sustainability that influenced the material selection included; the use of concrete as the primary building material to provide long term durability and thermal mass to regulate internal temperature, which is moderated by underfloor heating (via heat pump). This active selection of concrete also provides our client with superior resistance to fire, insects and weather driven damage in the local coastal environment. An increased level of thermal comfort has been achieved by increased levels of the insulation, double layered insulation, low e double glazing.

2021 NZIA Waikato/Bay of Plenty Architecture Awards Winner Finalist


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