Watch Our Auctions Live
Watch Our Auctions Live
4 May 2016

Titirangi Modern

Life in the trees


share

This Saturday sees the launch of the annual Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival. We caught up with its co-curator at her Titirangi tree-top home.

Tracey Lee is a brand strategist, agitator and cultural curator. You’ll find her launching, building and exporting brands, active in the tech sector and diaspora network. After over a decade of doing so in New York and Shanghai, she has found a home in the rainforest in Titirangi.

How long have you lived in Titirangi?

We have lived in Titirangi for five years now. It doesn’t feel that long, and yet you fall into the rhythm of the seasons; the lengthening and shortening days. Right now, it’s all about the Kauri cones crashing on the deck.

Why Titirangi?

Eventually, the land calls you home. While we loved working and living in the thick of it when we were away, we wanted to b-r-e-a-t-h-e when we came home. In Titirangi we are minutes from the beach and the bush. We are still very much city dwellers and work in the city but I love climbing the hill to the village as we come home. Your blood pressure drops as you ascend into the trees.

Tell me something about your home?

Ah, and then there is the rainforest modernism! When we started looking for a home our biggest criteria was ‘no villas’.  We had spent a lot of time in California and loved the coastal and desert modernism. We became aware of the modern gems out here and were very fortunate to find ours.

We bought our home off of John and Dawn Baker, who built it in 1963. John was a meticulous master builder and worked on civic buildings and schools in the neighbourhood. He gave us the copy of the Californian Sunset Series Hillside Homes and a Harry Seidler book he used as inspiration.

Tracey Lee

Tracey Lee

What’s special about the architecture in the area?

Our house is one of many beautiful modernist homes in the area, built with love, a fresh spirit, and an open-ness to the new. They are all nestled in the landscape and reverent of their surrounds. If you are patient, persistent and lucky enough to inherit one, you’ll find beautiful native timber and open plan vistas. The neighbourhood has always been a refuge for creative and collaborative folk, and that continues today.

Can you tell me a bit about the history of the film festival and your involvement?

The Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival celebrates its fifth year this year.  It was originally brought to audiences in Auckland by Resene and Rialto Cinemas, with help from Design Onscreen, a Colorado-based foundation that produces and promotes wonderful architecture and design films. The festival has grown to include the country’s four main centres, and has a passionate following.

Architect Todd Saunders’s buildings on Fogo Island, Newfoundland embrace the excitement of being on the edge of nature.

Architect Todd Saunders’s buildings on Fogo Island, Newfoundland embrace the excitement of being on the edge of nature.

My dear friend Clare Buchanan and I have been curating the festival (as Clearly & Co) for the past two years, and extended it to Christchurch last year. We share a commitment to the importance of engaging and inspiring communities with the possibilities for architecture in our lives; not just ‘buildings’, but the possibilities for how communities are formed, shaped and made sustainable.

This year we have brought together 19 sublime and exceptional films from all over the world, grouped in four themes: Concrete Love (Brutalism, Brazil and Bauhaus); Experiments at Water’s Edge; Design Trailblazers; and Living Cities, a series of films that consider how we are navigating the challenges of creating sustainable cities.

What’s your top-three pick for the film festival, and why?

There are so many brilliant films this year. The Concrete Love films include some knock-out modernism, but I do have a special love for the Experiments At Water’s Edge films; Built on Narrow Land really resonates coming from an island nation, and captures a very unique time with the influence of the Bauhaus school on Cape Cod. Strange & Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island is crushingly spectacular on the cinema screen and emboldens us with Zita Cobb’s and Todd Saunders vision for this Newfoundland island community in change. And Double Happiness, having lived in China, is a poetic and poignant look at how we navigate our futures.

Concrete Love - a selection of films that explore Brutalism, Brazil & Bauhaus.

Concrete Love - a selection of films that explore Brutalism, Brazil & Bauhaus.

Where and when is it being held?

Auckland May 5 - 18 @ Rialto Cinemas, Newmarket

Wellington May 26 - June 12 @ Embassy Theatre

Dunedin June 16 - 26 @ Rialto Cinemas

Christchurch June 30 - July 13 @ Academy Gold

Tracey's favourite places in Titirangi

Come out and stay for a weekend. There is a wonderful hidden B&B, Fringe of Heaven, where you can experience Titirangi Modernism for yourself. Get your art on at the Colin McCahon House museum and artist’s residence at French Bay –  a must if you haven’t been. Staying on the art theme, Te Uru is coaxing our art friends away from the city. Also, head up to the Arataki Visitor Centre on Scenic Drive, just beyond the village, for breathtaking views of the West Coast and treetop walks. My favourite hideaway is also nestled on Scenic Drive – The Refreshment Room, a beautiful restaurant that has a seasonal menu and a roaring fire as we head into winter.

 

 

 

share

Return to blog

More recent posts

22 April 2021

Coffee Ritual


A celebration of the ritual preparation and presentation of coffee beans, Coffee House Organic takes the the idea of the Japanese Tea House ceremony and gives it a twist along the Ponsonby s…

More
15 April 2021

All fired up


A guide to installing a wood-burning fireplace in your home

More
8 April 2021

Working comfortably at home.


This time last year, the concept of working from home was either a fantasy or an impossibility for most of us. Now, with some planning and forethought, it can be a reality.

More
25 March 2021

A Growing Interest


Monstera is a store dedicated to indoor plants. Owner Richard DeGrandpre delves into the increasing popularity of the once-humble houseplant and more importantly, looks at how to keep them a…

More
18 March 2021

The Alberton


Introducing Mt Albert’s newest and most charming urban village. A place that honours its past and celebrates its future. The Alberton is a boutique collection of Exclusive Freehold Strata Ti…

More
11 March 2021

Splish Splash!


Three of the country’s top designers share their thoughts on where bathroom design is heading this year.

More
4 March 2021

Change is underfoot


Nothing says summer quite like long, neat rows of bright green, freshly mown lawn. The sweet smell of grass fills the air, and nature’s perfume flows into our nostrils/surrounds us. The rest…

More
18 February 2021

Rainbow Rising


With Ray White’s Fabulous February now in full swing, we take time to focus on one of the driving forces behind our initiative – the support of Rainbow YOUTH.

More
4 February 2021

Absolutely Fabulous!


OMG! What a scream. Kita and Anita from House of Drag – two of the funniest people on TV – have teamed up with Ray White Ponsonby to give ‘advice’ on how to home stage your property, and als…

More

Contact Us

Are you interested in knowing more about one of these articles? Please fill out the form below to get in contact with us.