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Rawhiti Sleepout in the Bay of Islands

01 Oct 2015

Rawhiti Sleepout set out to incorporate the client’s functional brief, the site’s existing culture and key considerations of longevity, visual sensitivity and environmental responsiveness. The use of concrete was a key aspect in achieving these aspirations.

Dunning Thornton provided the structural engineering consultancy services while Mather Builders brought the vision to life.

Constructing sensitively within an ‘outstanding landscape’ was critical in the decision to build a new and separate building away from the existing bach, nicknamed the Sleepout. The design of the Sleepout takes its lead from the site’s geographical qualities and hunkers down into the hillside, minimising the visual impact and providing bedrooms that offer a retreat from the communal bustle of the main building.

The majority of the building is made of concrete; the floor, retaining walls, perimeter walls, concrete fin columns, and the concrete roof. The strength of the concrete structure allows the roof to support an intensive green roof as an extension of the hillside. The combined mass of concrete, hill and green roof establishes a stable internal environment that can be further manipulated by the occupants.

The Sleepout uses concrete as its primary material, reinforcing a sense of gravitas and permanence, while also allowing the design to achieve an overall sculptural response to the site. Natural textures, colour and grain are carefully manipulated in the concrete surface to create a resonance with the surrounding natural environment. The contractor’s craft during construction has achieved a sense of luxury, warmth and intimacy in the interiors.

65% Ground Blast Furnace Slag cement substitution (Holcim Duracem) in the roof slab helped reduce CO2 emissions, as well as increase durability and weathertightness.