While not a contemporary concept, modern expressions of these highly-coveted getaway spaces have the advantage of marrying the down-to-earth characteristics of a bach - think classic, clean, humble architecture - with the technological bells and whistles ushered in by the 21st century.
A stunning testament to the magical alchemy of innovation and imagination is an award-winning bach in the remote coastal destination of Shoal Bay - aptly titled 'Beachside Retreat'. The extraordinary development scooped the Residential New Home between 150m2 and 300m2 Architectural Design Award in the 2017 Hawke's Bay, Poverty Bay Regional ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards.
Designer Matt Janes of Pak Design and his team are justly proud of the success from a concept, construction and client servicing perspective, with the well-deserved accolade the cherry on top.
The brief was to touch the land lightly - to create something that pays homage to the landscape thus creating a synergistic relationship between build and backdrop. Matt rose magnificently to the challenge.
"The client came to me after seeing some of our work and knowing my background. It was a competitive process involving another architect so it was great to be selected. He highlighted the fact he didn't want the house to impose itself on the surroundings."
A simplistic vision offered the project direction - for it to emulate a hut, embodying baches of yesteryear in a minimalist but sophisticated style. "We looked carefully at the landscape and considered the materials we could use to achieve the brief."
Experimenting with and letting raw materials fulfil their potential was an important part of the process. "The client originates from a farm and had a shed full of old macrocarpa and rimu that we integrated into the build. We created a rain screen for the property out of macrocarpa, which silvered over time with the rain and blended in with the surrounding tussock.
"These materials put the building right in the context of the landscape creating the feeling it has always been there, but without it looking old or dated. The client wanted somewhere they can relax."
The unpretentious vision for the design and its usage, while simplistic at face value, certainly belies the complexities involved with bringing the winning design to life.
"The biggie was very much the remoteness of the location. It's an hour's drive from Waipawa, in remote Shoal Bay, and getting materials and sub-trades to site presented a challenge. We, and our client, are based in Palmerston North, so with this geographical issue, we proposed to build the structure in Palmerston North before transporting the 90% finished building to site."
The solution was to design the house in three pods - the garage, a bedroom/bunkroom and bathroom, and then the main living area and main bedroom. "The main living area was the most challenging - the pitched tongue and groove ceiling with its steel structure was very heavy. To position this on the back of the truck took consultation between us, the structural engineers and the clients, to ensure we could maintain rigidity in that block so it didn't move around wrecking the rest of the structure."
The outcome? A distinctly unique dwelling designed with generous open plan living areas and large doors, one facing east to extensive sea views, and the other facing west to a rugged and battered landscape.
"We are pretty proud of the result and the award," Matt humbly concedes before quipping, "The key is the client has remained friends with us so we know they are happy with the project!"