Colin Thwaites has been crafting beautiful homes for more years than he cares to remember – certainly all of his many years in the building industry.Colin is the managing director of Christchurch architectural building company GB Construction – a name derived from Golden Bay where Colin spent some time building many years gone by.
Having worked for all the architectural greats over the years – including Donnithornes, Trengrove, Warren and Mahoney, Kerry Mason to name but a few – Colin says he has worked on some truly amazing residential projects in his lifetime.
“I love what I do. In fact I probably look at a contract as more of a challenge than a money making venture these days and that’s not good business sense. I don’t know why I love it so much – I’ve been good at it and had some amazing results.
“You go to a bare site like the one at Roystone Way – it was barren, nothing on it -and we walk away leaving this house which is pretty good, and you get a real kick from that.”
The house Colin refers to is a newly completed home on Huntsbury Hill.Built on a very steep slope, the home is predominantly single level but with a basement containing a studio, workshop and bathroom.
The groundwork required ninety-two 600mm diameter concrete piles at lengths ranging from one metre to 3.5 metres to meet solid rock. Two large retaining walls at the back of the property are also supported on big 600mm diameter piles.
“We had to get civil contractors in to do that part of the project because they had the big drilling rigs. They started in January (2019) and it took them four and a half months to complete the piles, foundation and floor slab. Steel posts at varying lengths attach to the top of the piles supporting the house and a large cantilevered deck.”
Suspended six metres from the ground, the covered deck opens out from the TV room and master bedroom.Spanning 10 metres in length and 3.5m at its widest point, the deck commands view of Christchurch city’s sparkling lights and the magnificence of the Southern Alps.
The jewel in the crown however is a square open garden at the centre of the home, presenting a source of inner serenity. “The clients designed this house themselves and one of the features they wanted was an inside-outside room,” says Colin.
“The architect chosen by the client was W2 Architecture and they made the design work.”Entering the home through large double front doors, an internal open-air garden with Japanese Maple tree has been created behind a glass floor-to-ceiling wall two metres in from the entrance.
Five metres in length, the glass wall acts as the entrance hallway – go one way to the garage, the other to the living spaces and kitchen or look straight ahead to the garden.
On the other side of the garden another floor-to-ceiling height glass wall allows a view into a room leading onto the covered deck and the views beyond.Access to the garden can only be gained through the basement below.
This is the type of clever architectural beauty built by Colin and his team – the kind of home he has been building for more years than he cares to remember.
“I have some fantastic staff and a loyal team of subcontractors who all make the difference. One of my staff has been with me for 36 years”
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