Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Yes, you can buy Claude Megson’s house…


Now for sale by new owners, here's late architect Claude Megson's own house, perched above tree-clad Dingle Dell in Auckland's St Heliers, with views in the other direction out to Rangitoto and the harbour. A simple looking exterior concealing an awful lot of living within.


Megson took the small, boxy, brick house (right) designed by the architect of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Richard Toy, and transformed it into something magical, something giving the feel of having discovered a particularly poignant tree-filled glade somehow touched by the gods.

Writing about the transformation a few years ago, architectural critic John Dickson said of it, "It is impossible without the process of Megson's imagination to connect the cluster of small, confined rooms of the house as it was to the expansive, multi-levelled, vertical-fissured, spatial-phantasm that it has become."

A new structure was built over the original brick base, with balconies - described by [former Megson student] Andrew [Barrie] as "cages of mesh and steel tube" - projecting from the house out into the treetops… Andrew Barrie says Claude was a world-class architect. "His houses brought a sculptural quality but they were also incredibly tied to the way people live. Usually, it's one or the other and to do both was unusual ... there were few like him."

For Megson a house was a lot more than just a machine for living—the family house for example house should support and enhance family life, celebrating and artistically expressing all its many aspects. 

And English architectural critic Professor Geoffrey Broadbent, writing after a 1992 tour of Claude's Auckland houses had this to say:

"This," I said to myself, "is work of a very high international standard indeed." ...One is constantly struck by the surprise around the corner, the bright shaft of light penetrating from above into the softer glow of the main living spaces -- especially in Megson' own house -- that give his work such very special qualities...
There is an essential "rightness" about Megson's spaces, for pleasant occupation by ordinary, normal human beings. Such things, says Dickson, have gone out of fashion with today's students. Well, so much the worse for the students [and their clients!]. Perhaps it hasn't occurred to them that if they design real spaces for human comfort and pleasure, then even those anguished souls overwhelmed by post-Heideggerian "problematics" about the nature of their existence might, given spaces like Megson's to contemplate that nature of their "Being," come to more positive conclusions! Because that's the point about Megson's spaces; they are life-enhancing.
Broadbent, for once, is exactly right.


Claude built the house for his own family as a classic three-zoned family house: with parents’ realm and childrens’ realm’ linked together through the house’s public realm.  Agent’s photographs suggest the current owners (and vendors) have retained this spatial planning (well expressed in the exterior, as you can see below), but have restored the house and kitchen elements so they are “largely as they were.”


You may buy it through Barfoot & Thompson.


[Photos by Ted Baghurst and Barfoot & Thompson. More pictures here and here.]



Click to enlarge…




















Childrens Realm


Monday, May 06, 2013

Claude Megson: McMurray Rd townhouse

At present you have three opportunities to buy a home designed by the late Claude Megson, whose homes sometimes didn’t look much from the outside, but at their best created a world for those within that almost seemed to encompass the whole universe.


As British architectural critic Geoffrey Broadbent said of Claude’s work some years ago,

This is work of a very high international standard indeed. ...One is constantly struck by the surprise around the corner, the bright shaft of light penetrating from above into the softer glow of the main living spaces -- especially in Megson' own house – that give his work such very special qualities...
There is an essential "rightness" about Megson's spaces, for pleasant occupation by ordinary, normal human beings.

Consistent with this, and something about which Claude was very proud, once settled in his clients very rarely moved out—as is the case with this home here, where the original owner has lived there for over thirty years!


This  house is a small and almost original 1970s Remuera townhouse, with a later conservatory addition, currently showing at Open Homes.


More photos at Trade Me.


PS: Here’s another one in the same block that was recently renovated:

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Good House – Claude Megson

lgegg51621lgegg31621 NZ House and Garden magazine just featured this 1969 Megson house on their website.  The commentary starts provocatively:
    “Today’s building code would never stretch to accommodate the ideas of renowned architect Claude Megson. Some might say that’s a blessing but others would argue it is genius lost.”
I would be one of those others.
That’s not to say Claude’s ideas always worked out precisely as he hoped – one of his clients once told me that “Claude always floated about six inched off the ground” – but as the son of a builder he was always grounded in what could be done, and it allowed him to understand what should be done.
Designed in 1969 for an artist and his landscaping wife, this house at Waiatarua in West Auckland is on just  0.4 hectares of land overlooking the city.lgeg1621
     “Heart rimu ceilings and floors make the home warm and hospitable. The exterior is clad in vertical board-and-batten cedar and there’s a long-run steel roof. It ticked all the boxes for family living, with a separate cubby hole for the couple’s three children to play in and a world outside the windows to explore.
    “Tucked into a lush landscape, the home enjoys supreme privacy, with no need for fences between the neighbouring properties. The kids roamed the bush as if it was one big park, their only complaint that there was no dairy handy.”
Read the whole article by Claire McCall here.
[Cross-posted at the Claude Megson Blog. Photos by Patrick Reynolds]lgem1621

Monday, February 02, 2009

152 Cemetary Rd, Maunu, Whangarei


I was inspired over the weekend by a visit to this small Megson unit in Remuera I posted the other day. Claude used to talk about the “big-souled” feeling that architecture should inspire. This small unit certainly delivered – its 95 square metres feel immense, as does one’s spirit when sitting in its light-filled spaces.

It’s being sold by its owners now their circumstances have changed. They’d love to move to a larger Megson, they say, now they’ve outgrown their little beauty.

As it happens, a larger Megson house is also on the market … up at Whangarei. A reader visited over the weekend and sent me the news, along with this short report:

“I just went to the open home for the Megson designed home at 152 Cemetary Road, Maunu, Whangarei, MIND BLOWING! Very very original and totally delightful. I want it.”

No wonder. It’s another delight.

MAUNU_Cemetery_Road_152_5327959_640xFrom the Allens Realty’s site, from whence you can get details and Open Home times:

An Internationally known - Claude Megson Design - A Residence that Symbolises Individuality.
If you want to rebel against the 'status quo' and satisfy your drive for distinction, you need to inspect this property and appreciate the opportunity this fascinating home has to offer.
Almost the country equivalent of a modern day Don Quixote and nestled privately amongst native bush this unique 3 level 374m² Megson designed home features 2 lounges, 2 snugs, 2 dining rooms, 3 fireplaces and a large courtyard and swimming pool.
To be sold as a going concern with approximately 120 mature avocado trees in full production, including a large implement shed and orchard equipment. There is a stable and horse truck complex plus 2 small grazing paddocks.
A highly individual property that is everything but ordinary.

You can read all the sale details here.MAUNU_Cemetery_Road_152_5327935_640x

(Cross-posted to the Claude Megson Blog)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

3/64 Hapua St, Remuera

A Megson townhouse is on the market - one that came on the market a year or so back, was 'renovated' unsympathetically, fortunately onlny on a small scale, by a graduate architect who had no idea what she was looking at, and is now back on the market and able to be rehabilitated.

Sale details are here. Agent's blurb reads:

Remuera - Writers, Artists, Architects.

3/64 Hapua St

Open Homes: Sat 31 Jan 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Sun 01 Feb 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Auction at L4, 50 Kitchener St, City on 25/02/2009 at 11:00am
Unless sold prior
Architect Claude Megson created this sublime artistic retreat in the 1960s. Fitting like a glove into the Remuera hillside just below Arney Crescent, it's within easy walking distance of Parnell & Newmarket. Despite a compact floorplan, you'll be amazed how light & airy it feels. You'll discover several private spots perfect for reading & relaxing. Although every house-hunting single or couple should see this, the next owner is more likely to be someone who appreciates the architectural significance of a Megson.

Cross-posted at NOT PC.