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Judges of architecture prize vote for simplicity

Press Release

Judges of prestigious architecture prize vote for simplicity

A modest bach on the Coromandel Peninsula has beaten several multi-million dollar competitors to scoop one of the country's most prestigious architectural prizes.

Architect Ken Crosson was awarded New Zealand Home & Entertaining magazine's Home of the Decade prize at a ceremony last night (SUBS: Weds) in Auckland.

He designed the winning home, essentially a timber box on a manuka-clad hillside, for himself and his family in 2002.

"The bach came about because I wanted to give my kids something like the lifestyle I had enjoyed in my childhood," Crosson says.

Since its completion, the bach's rustic simplicity has catapulted Crosson to the top echelon of New Zealand architects and garnered huge international attention. It has been used as a location for Japanese television commercials and will soon feature on the cover of Pacific Modern, an anthology of architecture from Asia and Oceania produced by the prestigious New York publishing house Rizzoli.

The bach wowed the Home of the Decade judges with its ingenuity and attention to detail. Its front and rear decks can be lifted up with electric winches to form walls when the Crossons aren't there, completely sealing the bach from the elements. The bath can be filled inside and wheeled out onto the north-facing deck to take in the sea or the starry night sky.

Judge Glenn Murcutt - the Pritzker Prize-winning Australian architect who travelled around New Zealand to view the 10 finalists in the awards - called the bach "a wonderful, innovative work," praising it for its unpretentiousness and good use of local materials.

Murcutt's fellow judge, Auckland architect Pip Cheshire, said the bach is "a simple arrangement of spaces, materials and openings, enlivened by inventive detail that is at times nostalgically familiar and at others, whimsically inventive."

The finalists in the competition were the 10 winners of New Zealand Home & Entertaining's decade-old Home of the Year competition, the country's premier award for residential architecture. The magazine, featuring lavish photographic spreads of Crosson's bach, the other nine finalists, and four contemporary coastal homes, is in stores this week.


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