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Idyllic Waiheke Hideaway Features Litecrete Precast Panels

This Anzac Bay house, designed by architect Vaughn McQuarrie, features a rough-sawn timber finish on the internal face of the two main Litecrete lightweight precast structural walls. The owners really appreciated the native bush and Waiheke's laidback outdoor lifestyle, hence the architecture is defined by the glazed gable facades at each end which open up the house to expansive views and create a strong, vertical proportion to the structure's design.

The elegant sculptured spiral staircase on the open-plan ground floor leads up to a gallery linking both mezzanine floor sections. The textural surface of the internal rough-sawn Litecrete lightweight precast concrete walls defines this area and helps to capture natural light washing across the surface. The traditional herringbone strutting of the mid-floor joists, rarely seen these days, is an artwork in itself. A single-storey plywood-clad lean-to attached to one side contains utilities and a bedroom.

The drama of the upper storey views is exposed through the double height glazed gable ends, with raked planked timber ceilings.

The 220mm thick x 6.4 metre high Litecrete walls have inbuilt insulation, provided by the lightweight pumice aggregate used in the concrete mix, and comply with the Building Code insulation requirements (Solid Construction). This enables the panel surfaces to be exposed internally and externally.

Vaughn worked overseas for a number of years and returned in 2009 to establish a practice on Waiheke Island, which focusses on residential and small scale commercial projects and aims to create specifically detailed buildings that are intimately connected to their context and function.

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