Bream Tail House Mangawhai Heads
Bream Tail farm is a subdivision of an archaeologically and
geographically sensitive coastal site that seeks to provide a
custodial ownership of land without restricting public access and
amenity. The farm continues to operate and a public coastal walkway
is maintained as part of the development.
The site, a series of terraces just above the mouth of a natural
water-course, is very exposed on the seaward side to the east and
on-shore winds funnel up the valley.
Early Maori occupation of the terraces is evident on an adjacent
escarpment and middens are clearly visible from the house site.
Reminiscent of a bird having landed on the grassed and gravel
terrace, this single level, low-slung building straddles the
existing "modified" land of a gravel farm track. The roof folds
down forming the head and beak to the north-east, with a
translucent, rear "tail" flicking up to catch the last of the
afternoon light. Weathered zinc roofing merges with the often
overcast sky, and the roof edges are "frayed" with outrigged
purlins, and custom-made stainless steel gutters. Black-stained,
banded textured plywood claddings have their counterpart in the
black-green of the Puriri in shadow on the north-west ridge.
The southern "outdoor" room and garaging walls are heavier,
stack-bonded natural blockwork, clear-finished to emulate the
fractured layering of the sand and shell of the archaeological
middens nearby. Garage and carport walls are partially excavated
into the shaded toe of the north-west ridge. Above the blockwork,
translucent and battened cedar upper walls lift the roof off the
heavier base - raising the "tail from the body". To the north-east,
a terrace floats away from the surface of the land as it folds into
a small gully and banks of flap windows on gas struts open the
building to the beach providing a sense of variation and movement
to the building skin during occupancy.