The Werry House

Creating a Village Architecture

Bonnifait and Giesen are a busy, successful Wellington architecture practice and they’re increasingly becoming a Paekākāriki practice. Both Cecile Bonnifait and Will Geisen are long time residents in the village, who slowly, over time, are completing additions and builds in the village.

A trickle has more recently become a fully-fledged workstream as small, aging baches and post-war homes need some love for a new open-plan sun-seeking age. Recently they had seven on the go at once.

You can see examples on two corners – the meeting of Wellington Road and Pingau Street near Campbell Park, and recently completed commissions on the south side of Ocean Road, curling down to the beach.

Adding to their sizeable trophy cabinet Bonnifait and Giesen recently won a housing award at the 2021 NZIA Wellington Architecture Awards for a home on the east side of Wellington Road (known as the Werry House), not long after the Te Miti Street turn off. It is notable for having been built around two clusters of mature native trees.

Werry House, the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ notes, provides sheltered north-facing courtyards and ‘garden rooms,’ designed so every room has an outlook and sunlight.

Mark Amery spoke to Will Giesen about their practice on community radio show Te Pae.