Surfers Stay

Surfers Stay add

When a vendor wants to sell a plot of land with stunning sea views in the popular surfing town of Raglan, but just can’t find a buyer, it's not typical to approach a designer to have a bach-shelter built on it in order to show-case its beauty. But that's exactly what happened - and Red Architecture's Tane Cox was commissioned with a very unusual, albeit exciting brief for a perfectly formed, yet highly utilitarian surfer's stay.

The singularity in the purpose of the dwelling immediately struck a chord with Cox.

"They didn't want to capture a whole range of people's briefs," he says. "I think people spend far too much time making houses for that 'perfect resale' family."

The spectacular view of the surf was imagined as the defining experience of the site, and showing off that view was a key component of the brief, not to mention the linchpin of any surfer's abode. However, there was one logistical issue that dictated the brief - the steep, bush-clad site meant the 'stay' would need to be able to be removed or extended, should a more substantial home be required by future occupants (this would mean having the dwelling craned off the site). Therefore, the dwelling couldn't be large in size nor more than one storey high.

Cox decided that separating the two purposes of the dwelling into separate pavilions and siting them on timber piles was an effective way of creating a 'removable' dwelling. The first pavilion houses the living and cooking facilities, the second is for sleeping.

The pavilions are connected by a hardwood decking circulation space and the view is captured by the crowning glory, a 'crow’s nest' (a reference to the basket on a ship's mast, rather than the bird variety). The crow's nest acts as a rain-screen, and is accessed externally. Much like a party hat, its macrocarpa palings bolt onto the structure of the dwelling below, creating a neat inversion of the classic crow's nest.

"You can unbolt it all and lift the 'party hat' off on its frame," says Cox.

To read the complete story of this incredible and award winning project you can pick up a copy of defign four at your local New World, Countdown or Paper Plus. For a full list of defign stockists click here.

Photography by Larnie Nicolson