The Eye of the Fish

Leviathan
November 20, 2019

A-frame fever

How do you feel about A-frame houses? Being a child of the 70s, I grew up with the humble A-frame as an example of daring, alpine, exciting architecture, even if it was in Titirangi rather than halfway up the Swiss Alps. An A-frame spoke to me of an adventurous spirit in architecture – perhaps some of the mythic power of the pyramid – none of your boring 60s flat roofs and 50s conservatism here! The 1970 really were a time of culture clash – spawning both the Punk movement and Abba, the Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd, Bank America Tower in San Fran – everything was pointy at the end of the Modern movement, and was slightly before the 1980s camp Post-Modern movement minced onto the scene.

Although – given that the A-frame house is indisputably the very essence of a triangle or a built example of a tent, then perhaps camp, tents and A-frames go together like leather and lace? Or is that limp lettuce and lace? Sorry – it’s hard to concentrate on what I’m writing with all this disco music going on in the background. Amy Stewart – You’d better knock (knock knock) on wood. Thanks Active!

So – there was a time when A-frames actually WERE cool – you can see from some of these pictures that they are making a bit of a come-back. They’ve always looked a little lost if they’re not actually set in an alpine setting. So, just to make you feel comfortable, here’s a suitable snow-clad picture for you sensitive souls.

Sometimes they are definitely very cool indeed – this one below was in all the magazines a couple of years ago, and I think may have also been on Grand Designs NZ maybe? Its cheating a bit really, as while it does have two roof/walls, it doesn’t have two end walls – just one. So it’s a pointy 3-sided pyramid scheme thingy. From memory, the guy building it was single, and then the women folk started flocking to the house and now he’s married one – and has to move cos now he has children. Or did I just make all that up from my fevered A-frame A-class imagination?

I don’t usually focus much – if at all – on people’s private houses, but then again, this one below really caught my eye and thus craves your attention. I’ll keep the location undisclosed so as to protect the guilty (standard operating procedure in these post-Trumpian times?) but then again, I’m not sure if it is really a terrible thing that they have done, or possibly its the coolest thing on earth. It’s been butchered alright – my first thought was that it was an abomination to stick the garage on the front like that, but then they went and gave it the full circumcision. “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” But they’ve given it a true bobbiting, there’s no doubt about that.

Saves on ladder hire I suppose! I’d be keen to hear your thoughts!

Leviathan
21 - 11 - 19

The thing that really gets me about this is that they took a stable, 3 storied house (or 2 storied plus a skinny attic room) and now they have an unstable 1 story house, with a garage taking up what used to be their prime outdoor space, bathed in sun. Is this a candidate for the worst addition of the century? Or is there a glimmer of hope?

Seamonkey Madness
21 - 11 - 19

There is an almost A-frame house in Tawa – twin garage and two levels, which is a damn sight better than that cannibalisation.

A loose relation to me, knocked these two up by themselves back in the 70s. They were fun to run around in when you were a wee nipper. Plenty of stair balconies to tumble down.

Seamonkey Madness
21 - 11 - 19

Also and honourable mention would be the Westport Kiwi Holiday Park. A-frames aplenty!

https://www.westportholidaypark.co.nz/accommodation-westport.html

starkive
21 - 11 - 19

On the A-Frame subject, seems the Hanmer Pottery maker’s mark is derived from their accommodation in the 60s and 70s…

https://www.pinterest.nz/pin/40813940349781035/visual-search/

Levi
21 - 11 - 19

starkive – you’re mad! How long did you have to search for to find that one?!
Seamonkey – sold! I’m off to Westport for my summer holiday this year, just to I can stay in an A-frame….

Henry Filth
21 - 11 - 19

You should have a look at the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso.

It’s the most stunningest A-frame building in the whole wide whole world.

levi
22 - 11 - 19

better than the Cardboard cathedral in Chchc by Shigeru Ban? Cos that’s pretty A-framish….

Henry Filth
22 - 11 - 19

Yeah. Better than the Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral.

John H
24 - 11 - 19

…and in Civic Square of all places…
https://wellington.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/4313

Leviathan
26 - 11 - 19

John H – what an amazing find! You must have known that was hiding in the archives – does that mean you were around when it hit the Civic Square? You must be older than I thought! OK – so that has me interested – if that A-frame in Civic Sq was an “experimental dwelling”, do you know who it was by? Or whether it was really the first A-Frame? I’m intrigued…

Leviathan
26 - 11 - 19

Mr Filth – you’re absolutely right. Have you been? It looks fantastic! I must go there. Ishavskatedralen. Its on my list now…

Seamonkey Madness
26 - 11 - 19

Not so much an a-frame, but what do you think of this?

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.5114512,1.5360062,3a,61.8y,85.64h,108.88t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sAhJ184tQHeWQwFlznmJTdA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

=)

Leviathan
26 - 11 - 19

Yee gods Seamonkey, what the hell IS that? Sauron’s lair?

Seamonkey Madness
26 - 11 - 19

A place for worship…ping your body. A day spa of all things, would you believe? =)

greenwelly
2 - 12 - 19

Reading the website of the Spa is interesting,

lots of descriptions as Iconic, unique, “essential part of the skyline” “can be seen from anywhere in the city centre”…… but they don’t say its actually liked by anyone….. but apparently its the tallest building in Andorra so what do I know..

“In the year of our 25th anniversary, we mustn’t forget to mention something that has secured its place as an Andorran icon: our tower. When we talk about Caldea, we not only speak of our thermal waters but also our unique architecture. The building and the tower are essential elements of our one-of-a-kind spa, which has already become part of the Andorran landscape.

The architecture

In fact, it is the tallest building in Andorra, with fourteen floors and an overall height of 80 metres. During its creation, architect Jean Michel Ruols drew inspiration from the towers of San Francisco and London. Like the rest of the building, our tower is covered in glass which, like a mirror, reflects the mountains and the surrounding scenery.

In the early days, a lot of people wondered what this strange building was and they were struck by its presence in the centre of Escaldes-Engordany. Its shape led many to believe that it might be a church. Over time, everyone has come to know that it is Caldea and it’s already become an essential part of the country’s skyline.

If you’ve already visited Caldea, you probably agree. Our tower can be seen from anywhere in the city centre. And once you’ve spotted it, all you need to do is set off in that direction and you’ll be at the thermal spa in 5 minutes.”

https://www.caldea.com/blog/tower-caldea-andorra/?lang=en