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Making a statement in Paddock 35

Tom O'Leary Nov 11
Making a statement in Paddock 35
Paddock 35 started as a renovation project, with Imagine Building Design making modifications to the clients’ existing farmhouse.

A South Taranaki dairy farming family now have an award-winning new home situated on their ‘happy place’ of the farm, a small knoll in Paddock 35 with a clear view of Mt Taranaki to the north and to the south, straight to the heart of their business, the dairy shed.

Paddock 35, designed by Tony Biesiek of Imagine Building Design, has now won six Registered Master Builders House of the Year awards in 2017 for the builder, Custom Construction, commended in the 2018 Taranaki/Whanganui/Manawatu ADNZ Resene Architectural Design Awards, and Best Rural Residential Design Project at the 2019 Build Magazine International Architecture Awards.

Imagine Building Design was also named Best Residential Design Practice 2019 – Antipodes at the same awards.Paddock 35 started as a renovation project, with Imagine Building Design making modifications to the clients’ existing farmhouse to suit their ideal lifestyle.

“It was an okay house, but to bring it into the 21st century was going to cost a significant amount,” Tony says. “We suggested for that amount of money, we would be looking at building new.”

Tony asked his client whether there was a favourite spot on the farm they had always thought would be a great spot to put a house on, and they said there was, in Paddock 35.

“That paddock had a small knoll about 1.5m above the surrounding paddock, with a view of the mountain uninterrupted by trees or sheds and to the south, a view to the cow shed. The knoll in the pad-dock was my client’s happy place, and we decided to use it as the floor level of the house.”

Tony transferred aspects of the renovation plan his clients found important or were really happy about into the new design, one of these being the material language.

“It’s a volcanic region so every time you dig a hole, you will find a rock or a boulder. We wanted to use them so all the landscaping around the house is in boulders. We had to build up the platform to match the height of the knoll, so we used gravel from the quarry on farm. If you’re talking about sustainability or embodied energy, it doesn’t come much more sustainable than a couple of metres away.”

Tying in to the rural vernacular, the house is clad in unpainted ZINCALUME, just like all of the farm buildings are clad. “We’ve got some cedar in there as well, because they do like timber being farmers.”

The home includes a large farm office with his and hers desk spaces, views out to the sunset and the ocean in the west, and straight down to the cow shed to the south. A self-contained unit with bathroom and kitchenette was one aspect of the renovation which was going to be problematic, but has now been expertly inserted behind the double garage.

A swimming pool to the north has been integrated into the design, and Tony says one of the cool things about building the house up on a knoll was the pool was

able to be brought down to ground level, so its fencing doesn’t block the view from the house behind.

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