Multi-Generational Retreat by RTA Studio: Turama House

Multi-Generational Retreat by RTA Studio, Turama House

Architects: RTA Studio
Project: Multi-Generational Retreat / Turama House
Location: Waikato, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Area: 210 sqm
Year 2018
Photographer: Patrick Reynolds
2018 NZIA Waikato / Bay of Plenty Architecture Award – Housing Category
2018 Home of the Year Finalist

Turama is a new house typology seeking to make residential architecture that is both deeply rooted in the whakapapa (genealogy) of this family and formally responsive to the landscape beyond the footprint of the site. The concept was generated by the RTA Studio collaborating with Professor Paul Tapsell. Turama means ‘to light with a torch’, or ‘to give light to’. In this sense the intention is for this house and what it represents to be a beacon for the whanau and community.

Multi-Generational Retreat by RTA Studio, Turama House 1

The house is designed as a multi-generational retreat for the whanau offering manaaki (hospitality/comfort) to the whanau for current and future generations. The house is located on longstanding whenua (land) at the foot hills of Mount Ngongotaha in Rotorua which has been in the family for 16 generations. The house’s current context is in one of Rotorua’s poorest suburbs, within a cluster of state housing.

Multi-Generational Retreat by RTA Studio, Turama House 2

The planning of the house makes reference to three principal genealogical ley lines: Ngongotaha Maungatautari (Mt Maungatautari); Maketu Ongatoro (Maketu on the East Coast) and Ra’iatea Taputaputea (Tahiti). The house formally responds to the aspiration of continuing to provide a cloak of protection over those who stay there with the house’s form wrapping around and protecting those within. The cloak form is embellished with oxidised steel pattern work from the family cloak. The timber posts which wrap around the house make reference to the forest, allowing those within the house to look out through the tree trunks.

Multi-Generational Retreat by RTA Studio, Turama House 3

Multi-Generational Retreat by RTA Studio, Turama House 4

Multi-Generational Retreat by RTA Studio, Turama House 5

Multi-Generational Retreat by RTA Studio, Turama House 6

Multi-Generational Retreat by RTA Studio, Turama House 7

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