Cleansing Aesthetic – Te Arai House by Fearon Hay Architects
I have to take my hat off to architects Fearon Hay, run by Tim Hay and Jeff Fearon, who have completed the ‘Te Arai’ House, named after a small community on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, that sits amongst the dunes and pine forest in this same location.
These gabled timber sheds reference the timber working sheds found in rural New Zealand, with the concept being to create a dwelling across the dune edge that feels relaxed, open, and at one with the nature surrounding it. Outside seems fairly innocuous, a storehouse where you may find boats or seafaring accessories, but this is just a mask for a beautiful interior selected in collaboration with designer Sonja Hawkins.
Hawkin’s impeccable taste, also restraint when selecting the textiles and colour combinations, has been able to match the exterior and the climate that this building resides in perfectly. The concrete and stone detailing inside breaks up the use of wood and offers an understated way of separating the main areas that we most often reside.
I also noted the spacing between the slats on the main perimeter wall, with doors sliding open from each side, they fragment the light and mask it offering enough shadow so that the character is not lost. It reminds me of the sliding shoji doors that the old traditional Japanese houses use to distill the light and craft a unique luminance.
Maybe this house takes the best of New Zealand’s nature, and even a dash of the local architecture, but the aesthetic is distinctly global, relaxed and timeless. This build is here to make you feel fresh and anew, and at one with nature.