98 | Daniel Marshall Architect: Mahuika House Homes that connect to the landscape Virginia Wright Mahuika House on Waiheke Island steps down the section to maximise the spectacular sea views. ARCHITECTURE In 1998 29-year-old sole practitioner Daniel Marshall established his Architectural practice of the same name in order to be able to follow his passion to design bespoke houses in beautiful locations. He’d been in London looking for his next job when he realised that whatever company he worked for it was likely to be more of the same sort of work he’d just been doing. “Back in New Zealand there were likely to be more opportunities with people more open to new ideas,” says Daniel. “Compared to the old world there’s so much more possibility and the idea of having the freedom to do my own designs was appealing. So I decided to do that. It began with small alterations and gradually grew so that now there are ten of us.” It was about the same time as what Daniel calls the “Californian modern” style of design, connecting directly to the landscape, began influencing Auckland’s architectural design. “Prior to that people had been building those terrible leaky Italian villa type houses and it was really a sea shift in New Zealand Architecture,” he says. “More open, using steel and wood, and post and beam rather than walls and windows which is much more of a European model.” Fast forward to one of Daniel’s recent builds, which is currently shortlisted for the Auckland region’s NZIA (New Zealand Institute of Architects) Awards for single residential houses, and the essence of that approach continues to make itself known. Mahuika House is the third of three houses he has built in Waikopua Bay on Waiheke for three ex-pat Kiwi mates who all currently live in the UK. The site was occupied by an old villa but they quickly worked out that in modernising such a building you lost all its charm, so it was decided to remove the villa and start with a clean slate. “It’s a spectacular landscape there,” says Daniel. “but it had a limited building platform, so when they introduced the concept of a 20 metre pool that became a driving force of the design to try and find somewhere to put it.” Something Daniel likes to do when he can is to spend a couple of nights on a site. “It’s a really good idea for an architect to stay somewhere to get an idea of how the site feels at different times of day.” Having met the client over the phone and come up with a concept they then walked around the site together when the client was over from the UK. It’s just up from the beach with a creek running down the section and a ridgeline forming a sort of spine stretching up to the bush regenerating behind. “They were the other drivers so the house steps down the section with the last portion cantilevered over the pool which goes in the opposite direction to the house,” explains Daniel. A steep driveway with a garage at the end of it mid-site was another pre-existing element to factor in, along with the need to ensure a sense of welcoming to the main entrance. The eventual design with separate elements stepping down the spine of the section brought privacy as part of the solution. “The very top level is guest accommodation and the mid-level is garage and family bedrooms. Then downstairs is all the main living and then on the bottom level is the pool as well as a gym and a powder room. You can see the sea from the pool, about 20 metres below,” says Daniel. All three of Daniel’s Waikopua Bay houses share the commonality of being designed to respond to the landscape, and with the owners sharing a love of its wild beauty they have all invested in predator and pest control in the bay along with native planting. The result is a safe haven for more than three ex-pat friends from university days, with tame weka on the walkways and an abundance of kereru, tui and other native birds living in the bush. Proudly associated with Daniel Marshall Architect & the Mahuika House Project +64 9 443 0296 www.dbj.co.nz DBJ – The craft of custom cabinetry. Innovators, crafters, perfectionists.