At a time when our screen-based lifestyles have generated a greater desire to commune with nature, increasingly as remotely as possible, Andrew’s houses offer not only the ultimate escapist fantasies but hands-on and culturally sensitive approaches to building better, and more beautiful, houses that offer lessons to architects and home-builders across the planet.
“When I entered architecture school my grandfather was ninety”, writes the architect in Patterson: Houses of Aotearoa, a survey of 14 projects. “His hobby was translating Latin. I asked him about the ancient Roman tests for good architecture, as written by the architect Vitruvius: ‘firmitas, utilitas, venustas’, typically translated as ‘firmness, utility, delight’.
“He told me that venustas was not the word for delight or beauty per se, but rather the word used specifically for the delight of the natural world. Architecture needs to be beautiful in the same way that the natural environment is beautiful.”
The 14 homes here are divided into four categories: The opportunity for New Zealand; Belonging; Thinking in Patterns; and The Search for Beauty. Between them is a unifying thread: a uniquely Pacific understanding of the relationships between land, building and human, and of the ways in which beauty creates a balance between the three.
“We approached Andrew about a possible publication, not just because of the growing popularity of New Zealand as an international destination of breath-taking landscapes, but because of the unique way in which his houses engaged with their surroundings and culture,” said Lucas Dietrich, the International Editorial Director at London-based Thames and Hudson.