Business South May 2021

68 | Assembly Architects ARCHITECTURE Award-winning success for earth-built home Simple in from, complex in design, Arrowtown-based practice Assembly Architects has taken rammed earth architecture to the next level with this contemporary Wanaka home, S.L. PARKER C.A. LTD Chartered Accountants PO Box 5708, Dunedin, New Zealand Phone: 03 488 6202 Stewart L. Parker BCom, C.A Mob: 027 223 0001 Be inspired. 0800 4 A COLOUR I t is no exaggeration to say that this 2020 Southern Architecture Awards winner is connected to its location. Soil used in the construction of beautiful Scott House, on the slopes of Mount Barker, was sourced from less than 20km away in the Cardrona Valley. Arrowtown-based practice Assembly Archi- tects has truly taken rammed earth architec- ture to the next level with this contemporary home, simple in form yet complex in design execution. Jimmy Cotter joined Assembly Architects as the project’s skilled builder, along with Nigel Moore and their team of skilled tradesmen. “This is our third project using rammed earth,” says architect Justin Wright, Director of Assembly Architects. “We designed our first such house for a client who had seen Jimmy’s work. Jimmy has a wealth of experience and the rammed earth homes he built 20 years ago haven’t aged at all. It’s a beautiful natural material with this lovely colour. Rammed earth is so energy effi- cient too, functioning like a big battery, storing and releasing energy so the home is warm in winter and cool in summer.” Scott House was designed for a New Zea- land couple returning home from Singapore. Their brief was for a compact family home that would embrace the site’s grandstand views of Wanaka basin.. Sited on a flat terrace, the north-facing home hunkers low on its elevated site. Sliding and slot windows are combined pleasingly with rammed earth walls under a projecting eave of corten steel. To the south, the earth walled entrance and garage flank a sheltered courtyard. In form, Scott House is both contemporary and crisp, anchored comfortably in the vast landscape. T Kim Newth Facing north, the master bedroom/ensuite is at one end of the home, with open plan living in the centre. Tucked away behind the fireplace is a cosy TV nook. At the other end are three bedrooms and two bathrooms. With black-stained concrete flooring, in-situ concrete hearth and bed heads, and southern beech ceiling through the main living space, it should come as no sur- prise that this stunning home also collected a Resene Colour Award for its elegant natural palette. Judges for the 2020 Southern Architecture Awards, run by Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects, observed that the home’s simplicity of form belies a complex and sophisticated interplay between mate- rials, mass and void. There is a lot of detail here that speaks volumes about the design journey. Assembly Architects has developed exper- tise across many types of housing and clever use of natural materials is a consistent theme. The practice picked up two other Southern Architecture awards last year, as well as a national award. Jimmy Cotter, of Down to Earth Building, was the ideal partner for the Scott House pro- ject. He first started building rammed earth homes in 1994. “Earth used to be ‘cottagey’ but Assembly Architects have really grabbed it and turned it into something exceptional,” Jimmy says. “They understand it and know how it works… Rammed earth construction is very physical work but also very rewarding because at the end of the day it’s so very enduring.” Assembly Architects and Down to Earth Buildings have nearly completed the rammed earth component of a house in Queens- town and are just starting another house in Wanaka, with two more in design phase for Queenstown and Wanaka.