Thursday, November 10, 2011

a jealousy of architects

This was the wonderful collective noun used by architect and host Marshall Cook last evening at the occasion of the launch of Summer Houses held at the Cook home in Ponsonby last evening. I have never seen such a large 'jealousy of architects' in one place before. As well as almost all the architects whose work is featured in the book, and and their colleagues, there was also a good representation of the owners of the "summer houses".
After a warm welcome from Marshall Cook, Penguin NZ's Publishing GM, Debra Millar (left), spoke and here is an excerpt from her address:
When I started with Penguin almost 12 months ago, I was keen to address a gap in the New Zealand publishing list which at that time was pretty much devoid of local home design or architecture books. With Summer Houses, I was keen to showcase a style of architecture that celebrates the experience of living in New Zealand at its best. It has always seemed to me that New Zealand architects respond particularly well to creating houses that provide for the relaxed style of living that takes hold in summer, not to mention providing for the vagaries of New Zealand’s summer climate. And there is probably no better illustration of that than this very house, where doors remain open and a gathering can be held outdoors even in somewhat inclement weather conditions like tonight.Having admired Simon Devitt’s beautiful magazine photography I hoped that he would be keen to contribute to this project. He not only climbed aboard enthusiastically but brought with him the perfect writer, Andrea Stevens. Before I knew it, Simon and Andrea had compiled a list of more than 20 houses straddling a range of locations – coastal, city and inland – and ranging from simple holiday retreats to permanent family homes. Most importantly, all the houses they suggested showed how thoughtful design can enhance a connection to the environment and provide for flexible living arrangements.
 Simon’s stunning photography captures the detail of each building, whether this is its materiality or the way it responds to light and shade, while Andrea’s elegant text provides the context for each building’s design and purpose.
The idea was to reflect a diversity of architectural styles and programmes in a book that reflects summer living at its best. Of course, this couldn’t have happened without the co-operation of the architects whose work is featured, or the home owners who so generously allowed their homes to be included. So on behalf of Penguin I would like to thank you all for contributing to this book. We hope that you will be proud to have it on your book shelf or cover table.

 Summer Houses showcases architecture that celebrates the experience of summer living in New Zealand. Photographer Simon Devitt and writer Andrea Stevens have captured more than 20 of this country's most stunning homes and holiday retreats, each designed to maximise the connection to their environment and provide for a relaxed style of living. Devices such as louvres and sliding shutters create flexible summer spaces and enhance indoor-outdoor connections. Materials and construction techniques chosen for their appropriateness to their location create houses with an honesty of purpose and a strong sense of place. Whether urban, rural or set beside the beach, each of the houses featured in this book evokes the qualities that define summer living at its best.
Below are two shots from the book, photographs by Simon Devitt, featuring the Cook home where last evening's launch was held.

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