Solutions Architecture

Solutions is an appropriate name for the architectural practice, lead by architectural designer Mark Brown, who created this multi functional home designed to accommodate the needs of an extended family and provide generous, but separate, entertaining facilities on a grand scale.

Mark Brown has worked with the family on several projects over the years and has built a rapport and empathy with their needs and aspirations.
This connection has proved invaluable, as the project has spanned some five years from initial concepts to completion. A process that has included 18 months of negotiation and resource consent hearings involving the local Iwi, Council, Archaeologists and the historic places trust.

The site covers 6500 square meters and is situated on a prominent knoll. This position is highly visible and exposed but offers commanding, unobstructed 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside

The clients provided an extensive “wish list” to be incorporated into what are effectively two homes and a dedicated executive entertainment facility. Two homes because the parents and their son are co-owners of the property and part of the design spec was to provide two independent, self contained, living areas within the same structure. The family business is widespread and involves considerable entertaining and high-end corporate functions. The brief was to incorporate, and yet keep separate, this facility that is completely self contained providing accommodation and catering facilities on a large scale. The building is designed to give complete autonomy and privacy to each of the three functions.

The overall character of the home is intended to have a timeless quality that would not date. The country aspect of the site, in accord with client brief,  precluded a contemporary design in favour of one with more classical values. The brief extended beyond the building to include the landscaping and inclusion of an infinity pool and tennis court.

The shear volume of the project at 1500 square meters required particular consideration for heating and energy conservation. “Sustainable design was a key driver,” says Brown, “Water heating is provided by solar panels which are so efficient they also heat the pool. Careful consideration has been given with the use of products such as Plasta Brick to the majority of the exterior with some Rockcote EPS 40 on the upper levels and insulation that exceeds the requirements of the building code throughout”.

To accomplish the objectives of the owners and achieve the separation of the areas Mark Brown, together with his clients, settled on a formal symmetrical approach that divided logically into two wings to accommodate the separate living areas that connect to a central hall leading through to the conservatory. The circular driveway leading to the main entrance is impressive complimenting the formal approach and directing guests to the entertainment areas which flow through to the northern side of the home and open onto the pool and outdoor entertainment areas.
Both family living areas have separate entrances with internal access to the formal areas.

Each of the private living areas on the second floor has distinctly different requirements and features.
The parents living area, serviced by a lift, has two guest rooms both with ensuites used for the grandchildren during visits.
A master bedroom with ensuite, his and hers wardrobes, a lounge, a craft room, a library, a study, a kitchen, a laundry and fully glazed loggia which opens to the pool area.

On the opposite side of the house their son’s home includes Master bedroom and ensuite, guest room and ensuite, a lounge, a dinning room, a laundry and study.

Both living areas have 3 garages below including a workshop and both have separate decks that overlook the pool and tennis court.

The entertaining area includes a reception area, with full bar facilities, which opens to the conservatory and pool area, a home theatre, a formal dinning room which seats 22, a caterers kitchen, access to the art gallery of 250 square meters and a wine cellar. Guests and residents share a fully equipped gymnasium.

Included on the ground floor are two self-contained guest suites that are fully equipped with office facilities.

The shear scale of this project is a daunting one from all aspects and required detailed planning from the ground up. The earthworks and construction of the extensive retaining walls alone took 3 months to complete before any building could begin. The land was contoured to provide the building platform and to allow for easy access to all areas of the sloping site.

The exposed site and wind loading required very specific detailing because of the size (in some cases 3,5 meter glass panels) and shear weight The timber framing was up-scaled to 150 x 50 to withstand the strong winds. Mark Brown says” Wok Stehr, of Stehr Brothers Ltd the main contractor, has done an exceptional job offering considerable input and expertise behind the scenes. Many of the features such as curved walls, large glazed spans, concealed fixings, extra high skirting details and decks all contributed to the complexity of the project. One of the major considerations was the roofing because of high wind zone and shear size of the structure.”

“ The roof forms a significant part of the overall aesthetic appeal and character of the home and careful consideration was given to the final choice. Weather tightness was one priority but the look and style was equally important. With more than 900m2 of roofing, it was essential that the tiles complement the multi-gabled architecture, which is a significant visual feature. The Gerard Senator shingles in Charcoal have a textural finish that works well with the design, the Plasta Brick and Rockcote plastered exterior and the country setting.

The lightweight of Gerard Senator Shingles made it a cost-effective choice as additional structural work was not required which was critical given the design and spans in some areas. We worked in close consultation with the designers in Gerard Roof’s technical department who provided a solution where the roof pitch, above the conservatory, was less than the recommended 15-degree pitch. This enabled the conservatory roof to maintain the same profile and texture as the main roof structure.

From the initial concept to completion this project is huge by any standard. Mark Brown is the first to acknowledge that the skills of all the trades involved have been of the highest possible standard, all of which has contributed to what must be one of New Zealand’s most luxurious homes.

Solutions Architecture Ltd.

Solutions Architecture Ltd pride themselves on imaginative architectural design that is unique to the site characteristics and the lifestyle or working environment of their clients.

The principal, Mark Brown has been in the design field for 23 years, with a rebranding and launch of Solutions Architecture in 2006. Involvement with ADNZ (Architectural Designers of NZ Inc) at both branch and national level has given Mark the tools to respond in a professional manner to clients needs. The senior staff of Solutions Architecture each has over 20 years experience and the company is committed to continued professional development on Industry standards, trends and regular seminar attendance. “We consider staying abreast with the latest developments, products, trends and good practice is vital to the success of our practice. Our clients expect nothing less,” says Mark Brown.

The practice has been commissioned on a wide variety of National and international projects but consider they have a special affinity for unique residential design with special attention to the client’s individual needs and the relationship of the building to the site. To this end Solutions Architecture offer their clients a wide range of design skills and complimentary expertise ranging from subdivision to interior decorating.

“We consider our success can be attributed to our innovative approach to projects from the smallest alteration to multi million dollar homes and commercial projects. The attention to detail, costing, observation and documentation is of the highest standard ensuring our projects run smoothly”, says Mark.” This is vital to out business and our clients.”

Architectural Designer:
Mark Brown
Solutions Architecture,
Telephone: (09) 576 7472,
Mobile: 0274 480317

Main Contractor:
Stehr Brothers Limited, Auckland
Telephone: (09) 530 8267

Roofing Manufacturer:
Gerard Roofs,
Telephone: 0800 244 766.
Profile: Gerard Senator Shingles
Colour: Charcoal

Roofing Contractor:
Alan Wilson
Harvey Roofing Center, Auckland
Telephone: 09 978 9010

Glazing/exterior joinery:
David Headland
Nebulite ,Auckland,
Telephone: (09) 271 2980.

Wrought-iron balustrades
Classic Iron (Tauranga),
Telephone: 07 578 5613.

Kitchen joinery:
Project Kitchens,Tauranga
Telephone: 07 578 0404,

Bathrooms: Mico Bathrooms
Telephone:0800 448 844.

Pool and surround:
Advanced Pools & Spa, Auckland,
Telephone: 09 534 3572,

Interior Design Wendy Campbell Tauranga.