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Foundations of joy

DATE 12th Nov 2021



Designing a contemporary residence for his own family was a gratifying task for renowned architect Paul Clarke.

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Architect Paul Clarke had a distinct advantage when designing his new Remuera home. Having lived on the site for more than 10 years in an older cedar weatherboard abode, he knew deeply the intricacies of the location. Of course, having the insights to its inhabitants – his wife and two teenage sons – was also benefi cial, which Paul says is key in designing a multi-use replacement home that exudes joy, adapts to the changing needs of a family and has a longevity that outlasts any design trends. “The house needed to work for us as a couple, our sons, our dog and our friends and extended family, while providing a space that is adaptable,” he says. “The most important aspect to consider when designing any home is to understand how the people like to live, understand the site conditions and – most importantly – try to establish a longevity within the design to allow the building to endure over time.”

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“Adaptability” and “connections” are two words that Paul, founder of Aucklandbased architectural fi rm Studio2, is well acquainted with. Adaptability sums up his family’s use of the space – from his sons turning the garage into a makeshift gym to the creation of multiple social areas – with the home elegantly connected as a whole. “When you have these incredible connections – they may be internal or connections to the external environment – it provides a satisfaction and calmness that only good architecture can create,” he says. “It is very powerful that a space can change your emotions, the way we live and the way we see things.” The extraordinary three-level tower house is another impressive example from Paul’s architecture portfolio, which includes some of New Zealand’s fi nest homes.

Born in the South Island, he is well known for producing architecture which embodies both sensitivity and restraint, while simultaneously delivering the “wow” factor. His entry into the vocation was spurred by a love of art as well as a gentle persuasion from his father. “Funnily enough, my father was a chartered accountant, and he couldn’t see any volition to me being an artist.

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So I became an architect instead,” he recalls. “I found a different way to express my artistic side and I still get huge satisfaction in permeating art and architecture.” The work of Paul and his colleagues at Studio2 consists of standout residences in some of Auckland’s most coveted suburbs, as well as holiday homes in locations such as Omaha, Great Barrier Island, Whangamatā, Wānaka and Queenstown. And the work hasn’t slowed, despite the global challenges of Covid-19. “People are thinking more about their home environment and Covid has had a big impact on that. We are discovering how important home is, and our different interactions within it, whether it’s family, children, Zoom calls or work. People are now more interested in creating spaces that are adaptable, functional and – most importantly – enjoyable.”

Ultimately, it was that unmistakable joyfulness that Paul has strived to express in his own home. “Recently we had some friends over, and later in the evening they thanked us and said, ‘you have so much warmth here’,” he tells. “That, to me, is the best thing, when people feel warm and welcome and had a wonderful experience in your home. It’s what most of us are aiming to achieve in architecture.”

 

Read more in the latest version of Property Style.