Auckland-based architects Lance and Nicola Herbst of Herbst Architects have been experimenting with the best way to live in and feel connected to the New Zealand landscape and climate for 15 years. The application of their skill has resulted in a diverse range of responses, from their own bare-bones beach shack on Great Barrier Island to the glassy, ethereal house in a pohutukawa grove beside Piha Beach that won the 2012 Home of the Year prize.
In 2016 they took out the win again with their Coromandel bach. In contrast with the 2012 winner – which blurs the boundaries between indoors and out – this design is solid, resolute, blunt-edged form that could be called agrarian brutalism. “We just felt the need to come at things from a slightly different angle”, says Lance.
This year the architectural duo had another triumph; nestled in a pohutukawa grove in Piha, the winner of Home of the Year 2018 is a thoughtful response to a tricky site. Sitting up on concrete plinths with a sheltered internal courtyard, Herbst Architects have taken a standard footprint and cleverly twisted it in on itself. “To make a house as good as this takes enormous skill, a sympathetic client and the guts to know what not to do,” says HOME Editor Simon Farrell-Green.