Friday, May 30, 2008

Modernist Houses in Marewa

House, MarewaThe 1931 earthquake that brought so much destruction to the Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand also created a new suburb.

A large area of marshy land near Napier was raised by the quake and became dry land. In the mid to late 1930s, the area was opened up for residential development and became the suburb of Marewa, 'raised from the sea'.

House, Marewa A lot of the houses in Marewa were built as single storey modernist buildings. Often rendered and painted white or a pale colour with simple stylised decoration. Low walls were also common, setting the boundary of the property without obscuring the house.

Lighthouse Lamp, MarewaThe house above has very simple geometric decoration on the corners near the roofline and a fantastic lamp in the front garden styled as a lighthouse.

Another house has a stepped roofline but the central section steps down meaning the central section of the house is lower than each side. Often the central section is the highest point of a building.

House, MarewaA line just below the roofline with a stepped kink at the corners is just about the only decoration although it does continue around the side of the house.

The window sills have been painted to match this line creating a nice effect. The colour is also included around the base of the building effectively grounding the house on its lot.

The house shown below is my favourite. It is a handsome building with a curved central section at the front with other rooms within the house stepped back retaining their rectangular shape.

House, MarewaA series of simple, triangle based, elements provide the house with its decorative signature. The door is recessed into a deep porch and the steps in front of the door, although not visible in my photo, sit out from the front of the house taking up half the width of the path leading from the driveway.

The owners have done a fantastic job with this house right down to the topiary near the mailbox and marking the path to the front door.

When you go to Napier make sure you set aside enough time to have a leisurely stroll through the art deco suburb of Marewa.


  1. Just returned from Napier. Visited Marewa with a guide and she pointed out that although there are no heritage restrictions in place the people moving to the suburb are restoring the houses authentically and, for us, the astonishing thing to see were new builds that looked totally authentic.