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There’s a reason why you don’t see any photos of the entire Palm Beach House near Auckland, New Zealand – you’d need a helicopter to glimpse from above and even then much of the house would be hidden in the greenery. This peekaboo getaway is built on a steep, brush-covered hillside beneath the arms of a large pohutukawa tree. Multi-leveled, with rooms, balconies, and views jutting this way and that, it seems as much in the tree as under it.

Architect Vaughn McQuarrie writes:

“The house negotiates the site with a series of suspended internal and external spaces connected by external bridges and stairs. The owners of this home have to step outside in order to circulate from room to room. Due to difficult access and the wish to minimize waste, the design was based around factory sheet sizes which could be carried by hand and directly fixed in place without the need for cutting. Glue laminated timber was used extensively in the framing, once again carried in by hand and pieced together on site.”

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The views of the ocean are the coolest features, but coming close second is the drawbridge, which lets the family disconnect and create a small but symbolic break with the demands of everyday life.

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Photos by Simon Devitt


Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.


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Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal. Follow him on Instagram at @stevecasimiro.

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