Rotorua House by RTA Studio

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Location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Area: 210 sqm

Architects: RTA Studio


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 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.

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.

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.

RTA Studio

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All images courtesy of RTA Studio


RTA Studio

Richard Naish founded RTA Studio in 1999 after a successful career with top practices in London and Auckland.

RTA Studio has received more than 70 New Zealand and international awards, including Home of The Year, a World Architecture Festival category win and the New Zealand Architecture Medal. more


RTA Studio

54 Pollen St
Grey Lynn, Auckland
PO Box 68359
Newton 1145
New Zealand

+64 9 360 3313


RTA Studio


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