Born out of a long-held dream of living on an expansive green park, this private cricket pavilion in the Waikato countryside embodies the idea that nature can be shaped into a work of art and illustrates its owners’ passion for quality and craftsmanship.
When they realised their site would fit a cricket oval – the proportions of the land here are almost perfect for it – they delighted in devising a plan to give their outdoor space purpose. They wanted both an unexpected entrance and a screen to their new home, positioned behind the pavilion on a lower riverbank terrace.
The clients engaged longtime collaborators Edwards White Architects, who conceived of this multi-purpose space. The bold design provides varying levels of enclosure, scale and exposure to the elements, ever connected with the natural environment. Its nickname, Deep Cover, refers to both the position of a fielder in cricket and the way the building nestles into a backdrop of mature blackwood and poplar trees.
The singular form is modern and clean. Close attention has been paid to its lines, such as the horizontal band which separates the lower cladding from that of the two roof pop-ups. The stained cedar exterior, in Resene Skywater, contrasts with the warm interior lining of Meranti plywood and floor-to-ceiling red brick tiles from Artedomus in the bathrooms. High windows bounce light around the richly textured and coloured surfaces. Contemporary artworks, including those by Waikato-based artists Ruth Friedlander and Amanda Watson, take the place of more traditional cricket memorabilia.
A deep verandah, inspired by the drinks break, connects the opposing team areas and anchors the space. Featuring a log burner, boxed concrete seating and open wooden shelves, it is warm and inviting, yet robust. While immaculately crafted, it maintains a casualness and considers the need for shelter, practicality and comfort during long periods spent watching a game.
Daniel Smith, Director at Edwards White Architects, describes this project as a refreshing take on a cricket pavilion which is playful yet intentional. “We’ve taken the elements of a home team and an away team and blurred those lines,” he says. He likes that it is a singular form from afar, but as you approach it, the subtleties of the textural and tectonic elements reveal themselves.
While they are fond of cricket, the owners are not fanatics. Rather, they enjoy the ritualistic, social aspect of the game. “It almost runs countercultural to just slow down, surrendering to the long-form nature of a cricket match, which forces you to sit and watch, while simply enjoying engaging in conversation,” says one. Their aspiration to create a community includes hosting games for charity and local schools and impromptu social events. It’s a playful, impeccably executed take on a pavilion that certainly achieves its aim of having “something to smile at”.