Architecture Meets Nature With The Headland House

Distinctive Designs

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Sitting atop the headland above Onetangi Beach on Waiheke Island, the Headland House by Stevens Lawson Architects is a testament to the harmony between architecture and nature. Drawing inspiration from traditional Māori pā forms, the geometry of the surrounding landscape, and the simple beauty of beachside collections of stones, driftwood, and shells, this unique design amplifies the beachside context without dominating the ridge line.


Headland House Merges Seamlessly with the Landscape

The clients, who spend an increasingly significant portion of their year on Waiheke, sought an informal house that would blend seamlessly with the landscape. In response, Stevens Lawson Architects crafted a design that comprises a collection of smaller, organic pod-like forms, allowing the structure to sit in harmony with the surrounding landscape.


The Influence of Beachside Assemblies on Design

Another point of reference for the design was the natural assemblies of scattered pebbles and driftwood found on the beach. These groups of objects, tossed together by the natural forces of wind and tide, create sculptural yet naive forms that resemble a microcosm of the larger geographic formations that punctuate the coastline.


Evoking the Tones of Nature With Weathered Timber Cladding

Externally, the dwelling is clad in weathered timber, evoking the tones of the bush and ocean on an overcast day. The strong striations within the timber cladding are reminiscent of the rhythmic lines found throughout expanses of rock. Viewed as a whole, the composition of the curved buildings further emphasises the association between the Headland House and nature.

The Headland House is a masterful blend of form and function, nature and architecture. It stands as a testament to the power of design that can not only reflect but also enhance the natural beauty of its surroundings.


By: Jamie Quinn