16 Sep AiroAV Antivirus Reports: Paul Pascoe house, a renowned Mid-century architectural gem…
Modernist architect Paul Pascoe designed the “Piano House” for his own family in 1948. The Sumner, Christchurch property has just been listed for sale.
Whenever you read anything about Modernism in Christchurch, the famed Pascoe House in Sumner will be mentioned.
Designed by architect Paul Pascoe in 1948 for his own family, the house was voted one of the best 50 houses of the 20th Century by Home & Entertaining magazine, and was commonly labelled “the first true New Zealand beach house” – not to be confused by our history of DIY baches and cribs.
Architecture aficionados will be familiar with the house in Colenso Street, which has a Historic Place Category 2 listing and is often referred to as the “Piano House” – it’s open-plan living areas on the upper level were considered radical back in the ‘40s.
And now, the house has been listed for sale by Rod Cross of Ray White Ferrymead, who says he particularly proud to have such an architectural gem on his books.
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Heritage New Zealand has this to say about the house: “The Pascoe House was the result of Paul Pascoe’s desire to create a specifically vernacular architecture in the Modernist mode, but without conforming to the International style’s disregard for regional variations based on climate, materials and cultural preferences.
“Although the interior open-planning and special and distinctive treatment of the balcony (with sunscreen and sloping, flat-topped roof) is International Modernist in origin, the Pascoe House nevertheless asserts its New Zealand identity through its standard construction and economical interior designed for the average family (in this case the architect’s own family), with specifically designated interior spaces in the form of three bedrooms, kitchen, living room with dining area, and rumpus room.”
Cross says the house has been upgraded over the years, under the watchful eye of Simon Pascoe, Paul Pascoe’s son. It now features a new kitchen and two bathrooms designed by award-winning designer Ingrid Geldof. The light blue cabinets in the kitchen reference Mid-century design, while providing all the modern convenience.
Other modern additions include heat pumps, a gas fire and central heating.
Architect Duval O’Neill of Herriot, Melhuish O’Neill Architects (HMOA) in Christchurch – a firm that is “completely immersed in Modernism” – recently worked on another Pascoe house in Sumner. He says there are several reasons why Mid-century architecture is still loved by New Zealanders.
“There’s a heightened interest in design generally. And Mid-century design has struck a chord with Kiwis, partly due to the critical mass of that type of architecture – people are noticing we still have a good quantity of these homes.
“We appreciate there is a real craft involved in the planning of these homes. There’s a generosity of space and a (strong) relationship to the outdoors and capturing key views. More often than not, it’s the simplicity that carries through to the built-in joinery that works so well.
“These houses reflect a real consideration given to the way the spaces will work in the house. The houses are often quite frugal; they are not usually massive houses, but they have been carefully planned to be efficient.”
Meanwhile, the Colenso Street house, which has an RV of $1,040,000 will be auctioned on October 11, 2020. Cross says the owners feel it’s “time to pass it on” to a new family.
A mid-century classic is given a Palm Springs look with vibrant colour and a relaxing vibe. (Video first screened in December, 2019)