Rammed Earth, Wanaka

WINNER: NZIA Southern Architecture Award for Housing 2015

FINALIST: TERRA AWARD First International Prize for Earthern Architecture

This home for a young family is arranged in 3 distinct wings, each with a different orientation for sun, view and connection to the landscape.  A low and angular entrance hall forms the centrepoint between the living rooms wing (lounge, kitchen and dining area), family bedroom wing (master suite, kids bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry), and the guest and garage wing (downstairs garage and study, with upstairs guest suite).

The construction includes rammed earth walls, which are formed in-situ and provide both the interior wall finish and exterior cladding in its single solid mass.  While rammed earth is an ancient building material process, incorporating it with modern structural requirements and thermal performance goals provided design, technical and constructional challenges. As a counter to the earth walls, the house also includes wide format cedar rusticated weatherboards, and thin vertical shiplapped weatherboards.

Monopitched roofs are angled up over high windows, each pointing at different ridgeline views and providing a balance between ground level privacy and interior light and view.

The house and landscape were conceived and designed together, with both comprising a similar balance of formality, casualness and fun.

Assembly Architects were awarded a NZIA Southern Architecture Award for Housing 2015 with the following citation:

“A grounded steel-framed entry is flanked by rammed earth walls and a very discreet garage door.  This entry, complete with a concrete folded seat, flows into textured and light filled connecting spaces.  The three separate buildings are oriented to pick up ridgeline views, with high-level windows framing mountain views.  These building forms define living zones, as do the well-considered circulation areas that announce you are moving into another space.  Every space connects to the landscape of vast mountains and thoughtfully created sheltered courtyards.”

The Cardrona Valley Rammed Earth House has been selected as a finalist in the TERRA Award, the First International Prize for Earthern Architecture.
The project will now feature in a touring exhibition of earth architecture in Europe.
Wang Shu, winner of the Pritzker Prize 2012 as president of honour of the TERRA Award will present trophies for each of the catagories at the Terra 2016 World Congress in Lyon on July 14, 2016.