Kitset bach taken to the next level

By Anne Gibson

First came the radical Bachkit, an award-winning architecturally stylish modular kitset holiday house design by an Auckland architect.

Now comes iPAD, the next generation of portable residence to emerge from the same man.

In 2000, Andre Hodgskin surprised the design community when he revealed his Bachkit, a swervy minimalist pavilion with a catchy name which brought the outdoors in and took the typical Kiwi bach into a whole new level of style.

Eight years later, Hodgskin and his partner Russell Cannons at Architex have designed iPAD.

Holiday homes and coastal property are now feeling the pinch from the real estate downturn, but that has not deterred the architects.

iPAD appears to be cheaper than Bachkit: $125,000 for a 105sq m place, compared to $400,000 for a 160sq m Bachkit.

Both prices assume a flat site, all consents and all electrical, gas, waste water, effluent treatment and water tanks are connected.

Hodgskin estimated this part could cost around $20,000 but says iPAD complies with the Building Code.

Christchurch-based Grant McKenzie, whose business bought all the rights of Bachkit in 2001, is wary of comparisons and the assumption that iPAD is cheaper than Bachkit.

A guest pavilion Bachkit with one bedroom and a bathroom, but without a lounge or kitchen, costs $120,000, he said. It is designed to stand near the full-version Bachkit.

McKenzie said: "We totally own Bachkit ... We bought everything to do with Bachkit from Andre in 2001."

iPAD has a standard 3.6m by 9.6m plus decks and kitchen/living room with gas fire.

It comes with kitchen appliances, bathroom with shower and toilet and bedroom with two wardrobes.

At iPAD's corners, Hodgskin and Cannons designed a distinguishing feature: matching full-height slatted wing walls designed to perform three functions. They create a shelter from weather on the decks, brace the house and hide the opened sliding doors.

iPAD has a flat coated colour-steel roof roof and its decks are Modwood, an American recycled plastic and sawdust product which Hodgskin said impressed him so much that he thinks it should be manufactured in New Zealand.

iPAD's floors are a timber grain product laid over sheets of pinex.

The rectangular house with sliding doors on three sides also comes with kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. That in itself creates a fourth wall.

Bachkit was an extremely simple design for a house.

The space-age style is a series of sliding glass and aluminium louvre panels, designed so the house could be enjoyed in any weather.

Bachkit was also avant garde because it was a funky kitset home which had major pizzazz and blurred the lines between the indoors and outdoors.

Low on maintenance, it was an appealing option, particularly in coastal locations.

iPAD is the next revolutionary pavilion-like structure which Hodgskin says can be a holiday home, secondary dwelling, granny flat, office, studio or resort unit.

Hodgskin said iPAD can be manufactured off-site and transported to its destination, or shipped as a kitset and put up by a contractor.

In 2002, Bachkit won an architecture award.

The Institute of Architects' jury said the bach was "an adroitly worked example of architecture as commercial product and a clever reading of contemporary culture".

The Bachkit which won was in Nelson and built of Zincalume with aluminium joinery, timber framing, a structural steel roof with a Tasmanian oak floor.

McKenzie said prices depended on site, location and services.

"As a guideline option one - three bedrooms, two bathrooms, living, dining, kitchen, decks and breezeway - is in the order of $400,000 plus GST supplied and erected, assuming a flat site, easy access and all services to site have been connected."

About 10 pure Bachkit houses have been built, McKenzie said: five on Waiheke Island and the rest sprinkled around Martinborough, Queenstown and the Coromandel.

But about 60 derivatives of the model are up, he said.

"We never saw Bachkit as being a major seller because the market is not that big.

"But there are several people who like the look of it and there's huge interest in it. So we ended up designing something to meet their site needs and there's about 60 of those," he said.

A Bachkit was sent to Tahiti.

One is about to be shipped to Western Australia after securing an agreement with Elberton Properties of Perth to sell the product in Australia.

It is hoped that the home will be up by Christmas.

A display home is planned for Perth and McKenzie said this was the future of Bachkit.

The product was now being aimed at an international audience, McKenzie said.

Developers of a Cook Islands resort have also shown an appetite.

If that deal goes ahead, the next stage in Bachkit's life could see it morph into a mini-village.

WHICH BACH?

iPAD:
* Costs $125,000.
* Price for one-bedroom place.
* Fully-built on site.
* Bach has 50sq m of indoor area.
* Has 55sq m of decking.

Bachkit:
* Costs $400,000.
* Price for three bedrooms.
* Fully built on site.
* Has 160sq m footprint.
* About half is decking.

- NZ Herald

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