So, what makes this bach in Hanmer Springs so award worthy and how can those aspiring to build something equally striking achieve their dreams? Architectural Designers New Zealand judge and award-winning architect, Mitchell Coll of Coll Architecture, shares his seven reasons ‘The Family Bach’ wowed judges and how those who want to make a splash with their next home design can create an award-winning design that offers something different.
1) Get playful. Architecture can be art.
The Family Bach is a fun design, not just in its aesthetic but also the way it encourages play. The architecture deliberately challenges our understanding of a dwelling. It is a playful collection of three hovering buildings. It is drawn together around a recessed patio and timber decks to establish a familiar sense of a ‘campsite’. The two larger spaces sport tilted walls and corresponding roof planes to project the idea that these could be tents; one for kids and one for parents. The smaller structure is a tower which contains a store and sleepout joined to the patio with a crafted stair.
“Cymon has incorporated many playful design elements that make this bach special, says Coll. “Whether it is the campsite feeling the bach inspires or the fun details, like the handrail that extends out to become a swing. Architecture doesn’t need to be boring, it should be art.”
2) Leave your preconceived ideas at the door.
“People that are absolutely fixed on what they want from a design, limit a designer’s creativity. Cymon Allfrey designed and built ‘The Family Bach’ as a holiday home for his family. This meant he approached the design free from constraints. Choose a designer you trust, this is the first step. Brief them on your needs. Then give them the freedom to create something unique for you.”
3) Materials matter.
Cymon Allfrey chose two types of mass timber products for ‘The Family Bach’ – cross laminated timber and glulam beams.
“Think about using mass timber products. They are innovative and sustainable and a really nice alternative to steel. Mass timber products use pine which is New Zealand grown, New Zealand manufactured, New Zealand designed and developed technology. Pine grows really fast and is an easily replaceable timber crop, making it super sustainable. ‘The Family Bach’ has a warm surface temperature as well as internal temperature – this comfort is unique to timber and its warming properties.”
4) Be bold with colour.
Cymon accentuated the use of external steel in his bach design with a pop of yellow. This can be seen on the tent pole, perforated metal screens, and the stairs.
“New Zealanders are generally a little scared of being bold with colour. Why does every apartment block need to be six shades of grey? We should have more fun.”
5) Forget what’s next.
Don’t worry too much about who is going to buy the home after you. Be you and be an individualist.
“Good design done well is going to appeal to people. Be yourself, don’t worry about the next person. I always say to my clients that you are better to have just ten percent of people who absolutely fall head over heels for your home, than 100 percent who think it’s just nice. You want to really love your home, that is important,” says Coll.
6) Interior design is part of the process.
Think about the whole package. ‘The Family Bach’ has been decorated and furnished using objects that have been found and loved – this is a retreat that has been crafted for memory making.
“Cymon Allfrey has spent many hours carefully selecting his interior details. The way he has expressed the electrical conduits by face fixing them, is brilliant. It is time consuming and not everyone’s cup of tea but hunting out individual items that add character and individuality to the interiors can really elevate a design. Cymon has mastered this in his bach project”
7) Stand out. Not everyone has to love it.
“Cymon’s bach design won’t be to everyone’s taste, and I’m sure many people will question how five separate architecture award programmes can see something so special in this design. I can say that the ADNZ judges absolutely loved it. Cymon has not gone out there and decided to design a building that everyone desires. That would be boring. We need diversity in architecture. Cymon has given us something exciting and interesting,” says Coll.
CEO of Architectural Designers New Zealand, Astrid Andersen, said the win by Cymon Allfrey was well deserved and that if anyone should be celebrated for their contribution to New Zealand architecture it should be Cymon.
“Cymon Allfrey has been a powerhouse in the Canterbury architecture scene for many years. He has contributed some incredible homes and commercial spaces that turn heads, dare to be different and carve their own path. We have been honoured to have awarded Cymon many awards over the years – almost too many to count. He is a mentor to many architects and architectural designers in Christchurch. He gives the industry his absolute all and we appreciate all he has done. Thank you Cymon,” says Astrid.