It turns out Kāpiti is a good place to turn your dream build into reality with seven buildings among the winners at this year's Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects Wellington Awards.
Te Kāhui Whaihanga president architect Judi Keith-Brown said the nature of the landscape and weather in Kāpiti mean architecture and building methods have always needed to be innovative.
"I think the fact that Kāpiti has a core permanent population and is a popular weekend and holiday spot for Wellingtonians encourages great architecture, as does Kāpiti's active community of creative people - like potters, painters and sculptors.
"Many of the architects who've won awards for baches on the Kāpiti coast have previously worked with the same clients on their permanent homes in the city.
"Working on baches gives architects and their clients a chance to be more relaxed and open to creativity and innovation in a holiday home context.
"Significant investment in new infrastructure has also seen Kāpiti become an increasingly popular destination for those retiring or looking for a better work-life balance.
"This has seen a rise in architecture influencing new homes and other public facilities, which is great for the Kāpiti community."
Honoured at the Te Kāhui Whaihanga Architecture Awards at the Embassy Theatre earlier this month, our Lady of Kāpiti Parish Church by DLA Architects was one of the winners in the Public Architecture category.
The building collects and connects two Kāpiti parishes and three former churches under one roof with the design showing the parishes' intention to play an inclusive and open role in the Kāpiti community.
Themes of openness and connectivity are shown inside where the central gathering space connects directly to both the smaller chapel and larger nave, allowing seamless flexibility.
"The team at DLA were thrilled to have their efforts recognised by receiving the award for Public Architecture," DLA director Glenn Gardiner said.
"It was a splendid project to be involved in and was a huge team effort from the clients, consultants and building contractors, in creating the captivating building outcome for the Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish.
"DLA Architects have been involved in several Kāpiti projects in recent years.
"The capability, commitment, and attention to detail by contractors and sub trades on all projects has always been to high standard and that is especially true for the completed, beautiful Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish church and parish centre."
The awards honour the best new architecture in each of the New Zealand Institute of Architects eight regional branches, with Kāpiti falling under the Wellington umbrella.
Awarded in the Housing-Alterations and Additions category and also taking out a Resene Colour Award is Ōtaki Beach Alteration by Sharon Jansen.
The renovation brought two standalone units from the 1970s together into a single dwelling that retains its original bach character while being modernised for its next 50 years of beachside living.
Five of the 10 winners in the housing category stand in Kāpiti including Echo House by Tree Line Studio which aimed to simply build a "sustainable house that will endure" while using ancient Vedic architecture as a set of guiding principles.
Inspired by the history of Kāpiti Island and the whales that were once plentiful in the area, the design idea of a spine and ribs were used to organise the home.
The project has used sustainable design principles to create a home that is elegant, understated and timeless.
The Werry House located on a coastal sand dune in Paekākāriki is designed to be an environmentally friendly home catering for the owners' near-future retirement.
Sitting on a long and narrow coastal site, the Bonnifait + Giesen Architects/Atelierworkshop home has been designed around two clusters of mature native trees with the timber-clad home inserted precisely around the two clusters.
Other winners include the Takahē House by Designgroup Stapleton Elliot who made the most of Kāpiti Island's exceptional outlook.
The home looks out over coastal wetlands towards Kāpiti Island with sea views always handy, nestled into the dunes while sheltering internal courtyard spaces from the prevailing winds.
Te Horo Beach House by First Light Studio is a bach sitting in the Te Horo sand dunes, designed to be a primary home further down the line.
Blurring the boundaries between natural and built states, the compact, light-filled living space connects to an extensively replanted dune landscape and to Kāpiti Island beyond.
Peka Peka Escape by McKenzie Higham Architects is a contemporary interpretation of a traditional Kiwi bach.
Shifting the entry point from its original position was a key design move for the success of the project.
From between two dunes, an angled boardwalk leads the way to the bach, with views of the lake gradually revealed.
The winners are automatically entered into the New Zealand Architecture Awards held at the end of each year, judged by a separate jury.