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Iconic Photoshoot - Eyrie

On the 1st of December 2014 Resident conducted an iconic photoshoot at a remote cabin north of Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa.

Purposefully altering the coastal vernacular, Eyrie Cabins by Cheshire Architects are a pair of simple yet striking buildings. Located on a set of sloping hills surrounded by Kaiwaka’s breathtaking green landscape, the natural dips and folds of the land protect Eyrie from harsh weather conditions. 

The photographer that day was Simon Devitt. Resident products featured were the Hex and Tri Pendants, Tangerine Chair, Odin Chair, Spar Jnr and the Scholar Table. The photographs from the shoot have become synonymous with the Resident brand, and the buildings themselves have won multiple awards.

Fast forward seven years, and as Resident pays homage to Architecture within the New Zealand landscape, we asked Architect Nat Cheshire to comment on the process of placing the two 28 square meter cabins into the windswept hills.

“Placing a pair of forms in a landscape is a rich spatial action. Alone, each sits in its own matrix of environmental vectors, pushed and pulled by sun, wind and the specifics of landscape near and far. Pairing two such matrices is made more complex by the creation, intensification and dissolution of space between the pair. That space is a field of tensions that responds to altitude, orientation, the undulations of land and planting (and thus, time…) concealing and revealing each form relative to the other, and the infinite framings of the world between and beyond two like forms.

I did my homework, but in the end I placed these things with my eyes half closed. Navigating a rolling grassland, one feels it in the inner ear and on the skin. Walking carefully, one can feel the air accelerate and still, the temperature go through micro changes, the sound of bees and wind in the grass rise and fall, the smell of crushed grass and damp soil rise. Listening to all that, the placement of these hollowed-out prisms of charcoal became clear. There are just places one wants to stop and stay. Intuition over analysis. You either trust that or you don’t. I did. I didn’t have a better argument. When it comes to working with such a confined space, eventually the process arrives at CAD and the dimensional setouts that attempt to capture intuition in mathematics.

Peter the builder staked the corners out for us with tall poles of bamboo. Our lead client is one of my closest friends, and extraordinarily spatially skilled. Often I think he is the architect and I am the client - or maybe the assistant even. He stood within and between the stakes; walked around and around. He asked whether we might rotate one of the cabins a couple of degrees further away from the other. I’m so glad he did. Then we started building them.....I have slept at Eyrie once every fortnight this year. Almost a decade on, I can’t imagine them any other way. Others would have done it differently, but this is me, and it’s my beautiful clients. It feels like home."

- Nat Cheshire