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Design Review: Volume 1, Issue 2 (July 1948)

Family In A Forest

page 5

Family In A Forest

Architects: Pascoe & Hall, Christchurch. Owners: Mr. and Mrs. John Pascoe, and family of three. Builder: Mr. G. H. Aitken, Eastbourne.

Architects: Pascoe & Hall, Christchurch.
Owners: Mr. and Mrs. John Pascoe, and family of three.
Builder: Mr. G. H. Aitken, Eastbourne.

The Ambition: Wellington is one of the few New Zealand cities where it is possible to live in the bush and to work in a building. My wife and I decided that a bush environment for a home would compensate us for the natural disadvantages of living away from mountains. We also wanted a harbour view, sun compatible with shelter, and privacy. We found a bush section of nearly one acre in Eastbourne, took bearings on the sun in mid-winter and summer, visited the place in a cloudburst, and were satisfied with everything.

The Problems: Patiently we felled trees and scrub, and drew slumps from the immediate site of the house. With the whiskers removed, the architect came and brooded on the site, the builder quoted on drainage, and I was told where to excavate. We built log retaining walls and took all excavation spoil away from the foundations' area. Excavating was slow, as we struck a rock outcrop, which, however, gave metal for bush tracks. A neighbour helped me re-grade a private road. We built a culvert bridge across a small creek, and a bush tramway and trolly. Over a long period, and often at night, we worked a hand winch to transport the forty-five-odd tons of building material for the house.
The argument is unanswerable. Photo: John Pascoe

The argument is unanswerable. Photo: John Pascoe

(Continued on page 7)

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We made sunbathing terraces, which we use, and a fowl-house site, which we don't. We formed a garden, which the opossums wreck.

The House: The living story is 840 square feet. The living room, and the kids' room, with bunks, get a harbour view framed by bush spurs. A washing machine in the bathroom does away with a laundry. An incinerator heats water when power cuts apply. Every room has generous windows that give views of bush. A basement of 380 square feet has glass doors and windows, gives space for storage and work quarters and future expansion for living. In fine weather, there is the contentment of splitting firewood, building rock steps and walls, and lying in the sun. In wet weather, there is room for sewing, writing, and for the children to leap around. The house is only five minutes from shops and a bus stop, yet the sense of privacy is complete. A creek cools the beer and gives the kids a natural bar to their playground. Wireless reception is unmarred by street cables. The lay-out of the house makes for easy housework, and the whole is an argument for getting a competent architect to plan for space and comfort. The gently sloping roof, white basement walls, and creosoted upper weather-boards are in harmony with the surroundings. This is a place in which to enjoy the multiplicity of activities that concern a family that likes solitude, outdoor physical work, and the prospect of creative work inside. The kids also respond to the space and freedom, the sounds of bird life, and the sunshine.