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POUNAMU LODGE is a contemporary expression of indigenous Maori domestic architecture that responds to the uniqueness of Aotearoa, and to the uniquely spiritual environment of the sacred mountain and lake, Tarawera.


The 350 square metre lakeside home and luxury homestay, is characterised by a traditional wharenui-derived building form with a massive central ridge pole is supported on three main support poles, the largest and eastern most providing and reinforcing the focus of the house towards the mountain and lake.


This towering “poutokomanawa”, or heart pole, anchors the house to the steep hillside and provides support for the skeletal roof form that floats high above the indigenous lakeside vegetation. 


The rafters and structural framework are exposed by stepping back the roof…a metaphoric peeling of the skin from the heke or structural ribs of the traditional anthropomorhic meeting house form.


Whilst the building form is intrinsically Maori the house acknowledges New Zealand’s colonial architectural heritage by way of its simple gabled roof form, exposed beam sarked ceilings, and bevel-back weatherboard cladding. Similarly, the rope lashing that secures the ridge poles derives not only from traditional Maori technologies but also from nautical sources to reinforce the lakeside setting.


The house evolves from relative enclosure at the single storey entry to extreme openness at the poutokomanawa….

a progression that is developed as the house “sheds its skin”. This movement through the house from west to east towards the semi-sheltered three storey “verandah” space continually entices the occupants towards the stunning lake and mountain views, and to the lake itself via a short bush clad track to the jetty.


This dramatic transition facilitates the occupants in a constant engagement with the outdoor realm of ranginui and papatuanuku, and with the moods of Tawhirimatea, and the rhythms of Ra and Marama.

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