My Favourite Building: Dajiang Tai of Cheshire Architects
“I drove past Auckland’s Congreve house [designed by Pip Cheshire, 1987-1992] when I was still a student at university.
I stopped on the reserve and stared at it for half an hour – it is one of those houses that you can sense is extraordinary just by standing outside. I loved the blockwork, the curves, the vaulted roofs. I knew I had to work for the person who designed this house.
The first time I went inside, I felt tiny. There were surprises everywhere – warm sunlight from the skylight, heavy steel handles, walls stopping short with a glimpse of the garden beyond. I remember there was a tall, skinny, steel-framed glass door which looked heavy but felt like a feather.
I love houses that are honest in the way that the exterior and interior speak to each other, so you are transported to a fully immersive environment. When the material is in its raw state you can read the craftsmanship – it brings a richness. The Congreve house is muscular with a gentle heart, desaturated in colour but full of complexity when the light strikes. A true masterpiece.”