Architects learn to love being in the 'doghouse'

By Aaron van Delden


A year devoted to building a "dog box" on Wanganui's Bastia Hill has earned a group of young architects recognition from their peers.

The two-bedroom house, a project by three as-yet unregistered architects, was named the winning open work-in-progress entry at this year's Unbuilt Architecture Awards, which were held in Auckland on Thursday.

The judges were impressed by Patch Work Architecture's bold use of a verandah as the sole means of getting between rooms on the first floor and the property's "refreshing simplicity".

Last November, Ben Mitchell-Anyon, Sally Ogle and Tim Gittos, all aged 29, got to work on the award-winning building project, after purchasing "almost the cheapest piece of land Trade Me had to offer, found after a hunt of some months and various wild goose chases".

The three Victoria University graduates, who wanted to understand what it was like to build what they drew, were helped by Mr Gittos' partner, registered architect Caroline Robertson, 30.

Ms Ogle said it was nice to be recognised for what they had been "slogging away at" for the past 12 months.

She said the group were hopeful the award would encourage people to commission Patch Work Architecture to design other building projects.

The home's name is in reference to the strain building a house can have on relationships. All three retreated to it as a "dog box" at different stages of the project, Ms Ogle said.

Nonetheless, she said the experience had been overwhelmingly positive.

The house is now 95 per cent complete, with only minor groundwork and some weather shields still to be completed and installed.

Ms Ogle said trusses, which the group had sourced at the very beginning of the project, were the basis of the property's design. Timber construction poles followed.

The judges noted the resemblance to the Eames House, a landmark of mid-20th century modern architecture in Los Angeles, but Ms Ogle said this was purely by coincidence.

The architects are considering their next project.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 02 Aug 2014 12:21:37 Processing Time: 425ms