Andy Coltart has more architectural balls in the air than even he can keep track of. The 63-year-old is in the midst of designing a house in Havelock North and another in the Bay of Islands, is in the early design stages of a new build on Waiheke Island and is considering a project in nearby Te Awanga. Not bad for a one-man-band, “back-door architect” who never really set out to design houses.
Coltart, who is Hawke’s Bay born and bred, was once a farmer but, after he renovated his own home many years ago, the architectural commissions started coming in. His work is known for its vaulted ceilings, batten-and-board walls, handcrafted furniture and relaxed feel. “It’s a modern bent on an old vernacular,” Coltart says. “I think the pearl of New Zealand architecture is the shed. Driving around the countryside is just a thrill for me. You’ve got to have texture and scale with it, of course. Then when you walk through the door, everything works.”
Two of Coltart’s biggest projects to date have been Black Barn in Havelock North (he bought the eight hectare site almost two decades ago and teamed up with ex-local Kim Thorp to create the phenomenal winery, restaurant, boutique accommodation and site for the local growers’ market) and his series of river ‘cottages’ along the Tukituki River. With Black Barn (where Coltart works out of a small office he shares with his border terrier), Coltart and Thorp turned Hawke’s Bay into a stylish tourist destination, although the humble Coltart would never admit that. He will concede though that the area has “matured a bit. Everyone’s got their own thing going on. There’s a lot more you can do… and what a lovely landscape to be building in!”
- Walking over Te Mata Peak to Havelock North.
- Hiring a bike and exploring the Hawke’s Bay cycle trails.
- Ordering the whole flounder at Pipi café in Havelock North.