Mahau ā-Uma



  • Architecture
  • Interior Design
Mahau ā-ūma is a work of art, displayed in the gallery of nature.

In a picturesque location in the rugged windswept west sits this unique coastal South Taranaki home. Overlooking Te Tai ō Rehua with the backdrop of Taranaki Maunga, Mahau ā-Uma is aptly designed and constructed to work with the elements that rule over the landscape.

The owners and their young children spent a number of summers planning their build while staying in a caravan onsite. It is easy to see why this home took some time in the planning phase – what the everyday eye sees is unexpected – yet absolutely every single detail of this building has purpose.

The U-shape form is made up of two bedroom wings that are connected to the main living area by an internal courtyard, a traditional vernacular housing element from the owner’s homeland of Kerala, South India. A separate two-story pod sits alongside the main home as a break out space taking in elevated views of the coastline. Cleverly oriented angles and roof pitches that respond to the predominant wind directions and pop-out windows are inventive features that add to the design of this family home.

Designed using environmentally sustainable principles, with wood-fibre cladding underlay, wool insulation, rainwater harvesting, earthworm based sewer system, and heat recovery ventilation. The almost fully timber structure has large triple-glazed timber doors and windows that maximize the feeling of connection with the natural setting.

The exterior is clad in corten steel, a product that embraces the environment’s effects and weathers with rich burnt orange tones over time. Clever window flashing and folded steel details at the building corners harmonize the exterior and various building faces.

The interior is lined with plywood, with selected areas of the home adorned with intricate CNC routed art by Haorooro ki Taihua (Taranaki, Ngā Ruahinerangi, Te Atiawa, Nga Tāmanuhiri) that tell stories of connections – both of land and people, past and present. This family home is unique to its’ place and distinctively special to the people connected to it.