Craig Wilson of TOA Architects discusses the abstract ideas that inspired the unique and thoughtful design of this Grey Lynn home
Q&A with Craig Wilson of TOA Architects
This was a tight site with difficult access. How did you keep to the schedule?
Access definitely caused issues with the programme. The CLT panels could’ve been up in three days if they could have been delivered to the site at one go. Credit goes to the builder Mike Greer Architectural and their subcontractors for good planning and management, despite the constraints.
Did having the conceptual idea of ‘outer space’ help the design process?
At TOA, we always start with an abstract concept or narrative derived from whenua (the people) or tangata (the land). It allows us to connect with a sense of place but also push boundaries. When carried through form and detail, this causes a richness in the story the built environment tells. At Tuarangi, it led to sharp and fractured forms, protruding and cantilevering elements and not being afraid to craft a truly different-looking building.
What are your favourite architectural moments in the house?
That’s like asking someone who their favourite child is… I love them all equally, of course. Visitors always comment on the John Scott-inspired round window and the internal concrete walls. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, which is both beautiful and amazing to cook and entertain in.
You like to experiment with new methods and technologies. Anything you couldn’t do that you would’ve liked to?
If money was no obstacle, there’s a lot more I would’ve done with home automation and sustainable technology. I’m still saving for mesh wifi so my wireless light switching can be voice activated.
Is there anything you would do differently?
There was a black steel slide from the deck to the backyard in the concept that I would really like to put in one day. I’d also allow more budget for landscaping.
You say that, wherever possible, chemically treated materials have been avoided and replaced with heat treated or organic alternatives. Please explain.
In my opinion, chemically treated products are seen as a necessary evil due to the climate in New Zealand. With this selection of materials I was able to work with suppliers like Abodo who are innovating and coming up with amazing solutions that are kinder to the environment. Plus, I only needed to convince myself to be the first in New Zealand, which is an easier sell.
See more of the Grey Lynn home below
Photography by: David Straight.