Architecture Uncooked: An Architect Looks Around New Zealand Holiday Houses by Pip Cheshire and Patrick Reynolds

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Architecture Uncooked: An Architect Looks Around New Zealand Holiday Houses by Pip Cheshire and Patrick Reynolds

Category: Travel
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Wheldon Curzon-Hobson
Reviewed by Wheldon Curzon-Hobson
Summary: A beautifully written book by an expert in the field, accompanied by absolutely stunning photography.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: November 2008
Publisher: Godwit
ISBN: 9781869621544

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This book immediately impresses by its clearly written, yet intelligent writing, and its photography that captures both the structure and the spirit of the holiday homes scattered around the New Zealand countryside.

You may have a favourite holiday home. For me it was down at Waihi Beach in New Zealand. Sadly my friend Kevin's grandmother had died and her children had decided to sell the property, much to our regret. My group of friends had known each other since the first day at college when we had sat on the floor and the new students had been segregated into classes. We were the only ones left, probably because they suspected we were about to launch ourselves ruthlessly upon our rookie Maths teacher and the school wanted to be able to discipline us as a group.

At various times over the next 20 years we had descended upon the bach, the New Zealand word for a holiday home. The games of cards, the discussions, the claims and counter claims had continued through the nights. In the mornings, after rising groggily from bed, we had invariably cooked up bacon and eggs and sought comfort in steaming cups of coffee.

The days were filled with swimming and walking and lazing around the beach. At some stage or other of every visit we had walked to the far end of the beach, the sun beating down and inflicting various shades of pink. And on this, our last night, we sat and read the notes we had written in the Guest Book over the years. They were wonderfully silly comments on what we had done and the people who were staying with us at the time. It brought a lot of laughs, but filled us with the sadness of loss that this would be the last time we would sit together in this special place.

The bach had a main house, and extra bedrooms forming an L shape. It was made of wood, and creaked in the wind. Other than that, although we could tell you which bed had the bounciest springs, and where the floor sagged badly, none of our group would be able to put into words the architectural style or history of the building. This is why I opened Architecture Uncooked by Pip Cheshire and Patrick Reynolds with much anticipation. Here is a book written by a man who is clearly in love with New Zealand, its heritage, landscape, and its architecture. It is not just that he describes the design of seven Kiwi baches from the Southern Alps to Northland with clarity, describing both their aesthetic and functional characteristics, but he brings them to life by intertwining his time spent there with his personal history. I have visited some of the locations, but the ones I haven't, I now feel like I have, so vivid and personal is his writing.

Likewise, Reynold's photography captures the architectural details, but more importantly, he captures the spirit of the buildings and the landscape, and gives you an intimate portrait of how the baches are living, breathing entities, filled with people currently living there, and, as with my friend's bach, filled with the memories over the past generations.

It is a wonderfully presented book, the sketches, photographs and text are given ample space within the pages to be fully appreciated; an intimate revelation of a particularly New Zealand experience, that of the Kiwi bach.

If this book appeals to you then we think that you might also enjoy Celluloid Circus: the Heyday of the New Zealand Picture Theatre by Wayne Brittenden.

Buy Architecture Uncooked: An Architect Looks Around New Zealand Holiday Houses by Pip Cheshire and Patrick Reynolds at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Architecture Uncooked: An Architect Looks Around New Zealand Holiday Houses by Pip Cheshire and Patrick Reynolds at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Architecture Uncooked: An Architect Looks Around New Zealand Holiday Houses by Pip Cheshire and Patrick Reynolds at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Architecture Uncooked: An Architect Looks Around New Zealand Holiday Houses by Pip Cheshire and Patrick Reynolds at Amazon.com.


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