A sneak preview from our June/July issue, which will be on newsstands on June 7. In it, Pip Cheshire, the designer of this lodge/getaway at Mountain Landing in the Bay of Islands, ponders the question of bigness in residential architecture, and the consequent fear of botching a beautiful landscape with an architectural intervention. Here's an image of the lodge he designed, photographed by Patrick Reynolds - as you can see, the landscape around it is extraordinary and, in our opinion, the house is a suitably strong but respectful presence in it:


Mountain Landing is a private subdivision at the northern end of the Bay of Islands. Once a run-down farm, the developers have invested heavily in the creation of wetlands and vast new planted areas. This is a view of the house from down at the bay - it's one of the first homes to be built in the development.

And here's a view of the bay from the home's terrace:

In the magazine, we ask Pip if the prospect of building on such an amazing site was intimidating.

"Yes," he says. "The nervousness here stems from two aspects, that I might stuff up a great opportunity and a nice paddock and, more importantly, that the site is so loaded - high landscape and heritage values - that the building couldn’t blink, it needed to be strong without dominating."

We also asked about his decision to adopt a very different strategy from "touching the earth lightly", Glenn Murcutt's famous architectural dictum.

"I think that Murcutt line of touching the earth lightly is great and certainly fits Australia’s history and landscape," Pip says, "but we are a land of major earthworks, of trenches, palisades and ramparts. It's not a universal: I have some lighter projects but where its a big project, a big brief, then I guess I would usually dig in if there was some sort of slope."

You can read the full Q+A with Pip and the story he's written about the property in our next issue (it isn't often that architects are also authors - in Pip's case, his recent book Architecture Uncooked - so we took the opportunity to commission him to write about his own project for this issue). Keep an eye out for it on newsstands soon.

 
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